SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine arrived in California on Sunday night. It is the opening act to the end of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.

Los Angeles International Airport said on Sunday night that the first batch of the vaccine arrived, marking a “major milestone for science, our country and our community,” the tweet read. “Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world.”

The first shipment left Michigan Sunday, which set into motion the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history with 184,270 doses of the vaccine departing that plant by Monday morning.

The doses of the vaccine are expected to be distributed to 145 locations in all 50 states by Monday and another 636 locations by Tuesday.

Los Angeles County is expected to receive about 83,000 doses of the vaccine this week, with initial doses to be distributed to healthcare workers first, followed up by those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 in January.

“This is truly the beginning of the end of the war on the pandemic,” said Dr. David Lubarsky, UC Davis Health CEO, said on Sunday

UC Davis Medical Center has its freezers ready for vaccine deliveries. Boxes of syringes are stacked and ready for the shots, and its rooms are set up socially distanced for the frontline workers ready to receive them.

“It’s a huge logistical undertaking, but we’re ready to do it,” Lubarsky said. “We’re ready to help with it and we’re starting with our own workers.”

Nearly three million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine began shipping across the country from the drugmaker’s Michigan plant on Sunday. As the country approaches 300,000 COVID-19 deaths, it’s a historic step in the nation’s most elaborate inoculation project ever.

As winter nears, the country is grappling with record case numbers and daily deaths exceeding 3,000 for the first time last week.

“We’re likely to see a peak at some point in January, but the burden on the hospital system is going to continue for another three weeks past that,” Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday.

UPS Vice President Captain Houston Mills piloted the first flight Sunday carrying vaccine to the UPS hub in Louisville, acknowledging it’s the most precious cargo he’s ever flown.

“This is definitely hope,” Mills said on Sunday. “There’s a lot of people who worked long and hard to get us to this moment.”

CDC Director Robert Redfield signed off on the FDA’s emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine late Friday. Now it can now be given to Americans 16 and older as early as Monday.

A moment aimed at COVID-19 immunity, it will take delivery of this vaccine to 70 percent of the US population to achieve it.

It’s a shot at returning to the world we remember. UC Davis Medical Center is waiting for the delivery to help put this pandemic in the past.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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