ST. CLOUD -- CentraCare has received its first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and began vaccinating frontline workers on Thursday.

CentraCare officials say the first doses were given to hospitalists and ICU nurses working in the COVID critical care unit at St. Cloud Hospital.

CentraCare says it will continue to vaccinate frontline workers Friday and into next week and plan to distribute it to other CentraCare locations, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Dr. Jill Amsberry, CentraCare pediatrician and member of the Minnesota Department of Health COVID Vaccine Allocation Advisory Group, called the arrival of the vaccine a “glimmer of hope.”

“We have been looking for the light at the end of the tunnel as our community has been hit hard by COVID-19,” Dr. Amsberry said. “We are optimistic this vaccine will lead us in the right direction to help mitigate this pandemic while the community continues to remain vigilant in wearing masks, washing hands and following social distancing guidelines.”

Due to a limited supply of the vaccine in the United States, currently only frontline health care workers and long-term care residents will receive the vaccine. CentraCare says it will update the public when more doses become available.

6 Easy Ways to Support Small Businesses in Central Minnesota