The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be rolling out to healthcare workers in Erie as soon as tomorrow.

This comes as more than 138 people are currently in the hospital and 13 of those people are on ventilators.

It’s been a waiting game for the past nine months, but that will change as early as tomorrow.

Local hospitals are now preparing for the arrival of the vaccine and even getting ready to distribute it.

The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine are expected in Erie as early as Thursday.

“This is obviously an incredible milestone to reach and we are anxious to offer this highly effective vaccine to our staff,” said Dr. Chris Clark from AHN St. Vincent.

Once delivered, health officials said it will be administered in two doses to front-line COVID-19 employees per CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.

UPMC Hamot officials told us that once the vaccine is distributed, five pre-selected employees are expected to receive the vaccine in the first hour of arrival.

“We are ready. Last week the CDC did issue recommendations that healthcare workers will be top priorities to the vaccine. The first allocation of the vaccine will not be open to the general public,” said Emily Shears from UPMC Hamot.

Other area hospitals including Corry and Millcreek Community Hospital are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine as early as December 22nd.

Erie’s VA Medical Center is planning to receive the vaccine within the week.

Health officials said it is crucial that the community follows CDC guidelines through the holidays as the vaccine is still far from being over.

“The impact is very real. Maybe the only other thing I can say. There’s no way that any of our audience today doesn’t know someone with COVID. A couple of months ago that was a real scenario,” said Chris Clark, President of AHN St. Vincent.

Erie County is still waiting to hear when local health departments will receive vaccines.

It’s unclear when patients will receive the vaccine, but health officials tell us that it will happen in the future. This is a step in the right direction.

Health officials are also reminding us that this virus isn’t over and that the community needs to follow CDC guidelines during the holiday season.