COVID-19 VACCINE ARRIVES IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Hospital Health Care Workers and Long-Term Care Facility Residents and Staff Among the First to Receive the Vaccine

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – The long awaited COVID-19 vaccine has officially arrived to Santa Barbara County. Local hospital health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine. Due to limited supplies, Santa Barbara County has a local plan which includes a phased approach to distribute the vaccine over the weeks and months ahead. Following the vaccination of hospital staff will be long-term care facility residents and staff and then first responders in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system and dialysis providers. The initial 3,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have arrived with 1,950 doses going to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and 1,950 doses going to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

“We have spoken of the light at the end of this tunnel and it has finally arrived in Santa Barbara County,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “This vaccine is our most important tool for ending the COVID-19 pandemic in our county. While the light at the end of the tunnel has arrived, we are very much still in the tunnel, as we’ve heard State officials share. We need every community member to continue wearing a mask, staying home as much as possible, and for those that have tested positive, please isolate immediately.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that has arrived will work to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and improve our natural defenses through increasing our antibodies to fight the virus. With two doses given three weeks apart, this vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the recipient of the vaccine. The phased distribution of the vaccine will begin with those at highest risk of contracting the virus.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Officials have been preparing to see a spike in positive cases in the two weeks following the Thanksgiving Holiday. As a result of those who chose to gather with others outside of their immediate household, despite stated health guidance, the impact has been some of the highest daily case counts seen to date. “The arrival of the vaccine could not come at a more critical time for our county,” said Ansorg. “We have been working for months to prepare for a local distribution plan and will begin with those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19.”

As more supply becomes available, the county will progress in the phased distribution of the most powerful tool we have against COVID-19, increasing the opportunity for more people in our community to get vaccinated. The general public will have a chance to be vaccinated in Spring 2021. This timeline will be updated as more is known.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccination, updated on a regular basis, please visit https://publichealthsbc.org/covid-19-vaccine-information/

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