(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – Residents of Santa Barbara County who are age 65 and older will be eligible to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Tuesday, February 16, 2021. This expanded eligibility means that local health care providers, pharmacies, hospitals, and Public Health vaccination sites can open appointments to those 65+ once vaccines become available to them. Vaccine supplies are still very limited and health care providers are simultaneously ensuring those that received a first dose will also be able to receive a second dose. Appointments will be very limited.
“We ask that until vaccine supply increases, the community allow those at greatest risk for exposure and serious health outcomes, to make their vaccine appointments first,” said Van Do-Reynoso, Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “The entire community will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and work toward the community as a whole being safe from the risks of the virus.”
Just under 6,000 doses of vaccine are expected to arrive in Santa Barbara County next week, the vast majority of which are slated for second doses. Approximately 11,000 second doses will be administered in the next two weeks. Santa Barbara County currently has over 40,000 residents between the ages of 65-74 years old. Appointments will likely become available through health care providers and pharmacies, before they become available at Public Health vaccination sites.
“We are excited to open appointments to vulnerable community members to have their first access to the vaccine” said, Dr. Do-Reynoso. “We are continuing to make progress in vaccine administration based on the maximum allocation Santa Barbara County is able to request from the state.”
These next few weeks will be a time of transition for vaccine distribution as we await further clarification from the State about the move to a Third-Party Administrator (TPA). There will be local changes in the way vaccine is administered and more information will be shared as it is known.
For information about the COVID-19 vaccine and countywide availability, please visit www.publichealthsbc.org/vaccine/ or call 2-1-1 and press “4” for assistance. The County Call Center is available 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.