Health workers at The Queen’s Medical Center who care for coronavirus patients will be among the first Hawaii residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, following the Monday arrival of a 975-dose shipment from Pfizer.

The shipment — a thermo-insulated container filled with dry ice and the 975 doses — was inspected by a pharmacy team and then transferred to an ultra-cold freezer for storage at Hawaii’s largest hospital.

Hawaii’s first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at The Queen’s Medical Center on Dec. 14. Courtesy: The Queen's Health Systems/2020

Although most Hawaii residents will not have the opportunity to be inoculated until spring or summer — in the priority line, health care workers, first responders and essential workers come first — the arrival of vaccines in Hawaii means public health workers can now set in motion what will be a monthslong process to receive and distribute the vaccines with hopes high that they will ease the pandemic.

The vaccine will not be mandatory. However, experts say about 70% of Hawaii residents must get vaccinated against COVID-19 for the population to achieve herd immunity and the vaccine will be far less effective if that’s not achieved.

The latest scientific data and resources about the vaccine can be found at a new website created by the hospital system to serve as a repository for COVID-19 vaccine information.

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