A local hospital in Santa Maria is helping get the COVID-19 vaccine to nearly 4,000 seniors this weekend. Marian Regional Medical Center, a member of Dignity Healthy, turned the parking lot on 220 Palisades Drive into a community vaccination site on Thursday.
During the next four days, the medical staff will vaccinate residents 75 years and older in Santa Barbara County.
"We're doing this even while our hospital is surging. We want to get this (vaccine) out to the community," Robin Dodds, the Patient Experience Director, said.
The goal is to administer about a 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines per day. Staff are prepared to give out a total of 3,000 vaccines.
Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino was one of the residents who received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I'm so pleased I hope everyone comes out and gets the vaccine when its available to them all age groups," she said. "I think it's great absolutely great."
The process of administering the vaccine takes about 10 minutes, followed by a 15-minute wait to make sure people are feeling well. Organizers say appointments are completely booked but Thursday's event ran smoothly.
Several people who received the vaccine said they are grateful and were amazed at how easy the process was.
"I was greeted cordially. It was pleasant from the moment i put my feet on the tarmac until now," Nipomo resident William Morris said.
"Even just getting the shot, it was just a little prick hardly felt it all," Santa Maria resident Eileen Stegeman said. "I have hope that we can get a handle on this."
Those who received the vaccine Thursday will need to come back in about three weeks for a second and final dose.