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Initial doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine continue to roll out to San Antonio-area hospitals on Thursday

The distributions come as the county continues to rocket toward 100,000 novel coronavirus diagnoses.

SAN ANTONIO — Nine months into the novel coronavirus pandemic, there's hope on the horizon. But now is still a time to hunker down. 

That's the message San Antonio-area leaders shared Thursday night as they reported another jump in virus-related hospitalizations, as well as a third straight day of at least 1,300 new cases in Bexar County. As of Thursday, 837 people are in San Antonio hospitals with the virus. 

The increase comes as coronavirus vaccine shipments start to be distributed to medical facilities in the Alamo City and across Texas.

KENS 5 has learned from the state that Texas has completed an initial delivery of the Pfizer vaccine, which means the first round of nearly 25,000 doses of the vaccine have arrived.

On Thursday, nurses, physicians and staff at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa and Baptist Health Systems were injected with the vaccine.

Laura Aston, an RN with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Medical Center, said she got the shot for coworkers and family.

"And really to prevent the spread of COVID-19," she said.

"I got it for my patients, myself and my loved ones," added Dr. Nathan Bernal, with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Medical Center. 

Dr. Lynnette Watkins, chief medical officer for Baptist Health System in San Antonio, said that about 900 of her fellow healthcare workers got the vaccine on Thursday. 

"We've been waging the war and it really is a war against COVID-19," she said. "To be able to provide them this additional protection when they are facing this disease day after day, it is really a big relief."

However, Watkins said the vaccine is not the end-all.

"It is an important point in our journey," she said. "But it is not the end. It is important to continue doing that basic blocking and tackling, particularly wearing a mask."