Pharmacies along the Central Coast may be getting the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
In a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions pharmacies will receive a direct allocation of the vaccine once it is authorized and recommend for use in the United States.
“This is a very exciting time, we’ve all been waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine to be released and it looks like it will be very shortly," Albertsons District Pharmacy Manager Will Henning said.
The company's more than 1,700 pharmacy locations nationwide stand ready to safely administer the vaccine.
Pharmacists say the vaccine they expect to receive first is the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer, which has indicated they will be releasing up to 20 million doses this year and an additional 500 million for 2021.
“Uniquely this particular type of vaccine is the extreme cold storage, negative seventy degrees Celsius or negative ninety-four degrees Fahrenheit," Henning said.
With a high demand and low availability of the vaccine, it will initially be released to the public in several phases.
Phase One A will be for those working in the health care industry, who have a risk risk of exposure to the virus.
Those in Phase One B will include first responders, emergency workers, law enforcement, as well as those in the elderly population and in long term care facilities.
Santa Barbara County public health officials also addressed the vaccine in a press conference held Friday, and say it too could be arriving soon.
“Being able to offer the new coronavirus vaccines to everyone during spring and summer of 2021 will help turn the tide and change the trajectory of the pandemic profoundly," Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said.
Albertsons' District Pharmacy Manager says he does not know how many vaccines pharmacies will be getting as of now.
The vaccines will be provided free of charge to all recipients.