SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – The first vaccines given Monday across the country kicked off the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history.

An emergency room nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California was among the first in California to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, with Governor Gavin Newsom by her side.

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“What I want you guys to know is that help is on the way and this is the first step,” said ER nurse Kim Taylor.

An ICU nurse at a New York City hospital was the first American to get the shot.

“I hope this marks the beginning to the end of the very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe,” said nurse Sandra Lindsay.

The first shipments of the vaccine arrived at hospitals across the Bay Area, on Monday.

John Muir in Walnut Creek is expecting 5,000 doses, and 2,000 doses went to Zuckerberg San Francisco General.

From Stanford to Kaiser Northern California, ultra cold freezers have been installed and they are ready to store thousands of vials of the Pfizer vaccine.

At Oakland International Airport, Fed Ex planes are bringing more doses packed in dry ice.

UCSF plans begin vaccinations on Wednesday.

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“A little bit different from other vaccines like the flu vaccine, patients need to be observed for ten minutes after they receive the vaccine so they’ll be vaccinated in a private room right now,” said UCSF Chief Pharmacist Dr. Desi Kotis.

Stanford plans to ramp up its program to vaccinate as many as 1,000 people a day. They’re ready to treat anyone who has an extreme allergic reaction.

“The anaphylaxis is extremely, extremely rare, two people in the UK so far, but we’re prepared,” said VP of Stanford Quality Patient Safety Lisa Schilling.

Sutter Health, which has 22 sites in Northern California, expects shipments early this week. It says healthcare workers with the most patient interaction will be the first to receive them.

It’s unclear how many employees will receive shots in the first round.

“It’s really a changing target, we’re getting new information literally hourly about what these incoming shipments look like,” said Sutter Health Vice President of Pharmacy Ryan Stice.

A Stanford emergency doctor told KPIX he’s confident in the vaccine’s strength.

“All the data has shown that it works up to 95 percent, so it’s you know it’s not a 100 percent, which is why we’ll continue to wear a masks, we’ll continue to social distance until we get to the point that we don’t have to,” said Dr. Shashank Ravi.

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The Food and Drug Administration is expected to meet this Thursday to discuss Moderna’s vaccine. Once approved, the first doses could arrive by early next week in the Bay Area.