The largest hospital operator in Rhode Island received its initial doses of a coronavirus vaccine on Monday.

Lifespan said it received about 3,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and will begin administering it to health care workers later Monday.

The organization said it would start with those at highest risk, including providers and staff who have direct contact with coronavirus patients or infectious fluids or materials.

The organization operates Rhode Island, Hasbro Children’s, and the Miriam hospitals in Providence, Bradley Hospital in East Providence and Newport Hospital.

“We are ready to quickly distribute the vaccine and after long months of battling this pandemic, we have powerful reasons for optimism that the end is in sight,” Timothy Babineau, Lifespan’s president and CEO, said.

Lifespan said its goal is to vaccinate all employees over the next several months.

Five other hospitals will be receiving 1,000 doses of the vaccine over Monday and Tuesday, including Kent Hospital, Newport Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, the state Department of Health said Monday.

“In the coming weeks and months, as vaccine becomes more available, getting vaccinated will be one of the most powerful things you can do to keep yourself and the people you love safe from COVID-19," Nicole Alexander-Scott, head of the department, said.

Two doses will be needed for someone to be fully immunized. The health department said the second doses will start arriving in the state in about three weeks.

Rhode Island expects to receive about 10,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine the first week it is available. If Moderna's vaccine receives emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the state expects to receive about 19,000 doses the first week it is available.

Vaccines will arrive in the state in weekly allotments over the coming months, following emergency approval for Pfizer's vaccine last week by the FDA.