The effort to vaccinate those who are 75 years or older continues as hundreds of people in Lompoc were able to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
Many of the people who were at the vaccination site said they were anxiously looking forward to getting their hands on the vaccine. Some even said they have been in quarantine for months until now.
"I have been pretty much in lockdown since March. You know, I've had some issues in the past with health so it's nice to get it,” said Lawrence Reiche.
He's one of more than 800 residents in Lompoc receiving their first dose of the vaccine on Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Building.
According to Santa Barbara County Public Health officials at the site, out of the 876 people who made an appointment, 583 of them were 75 years or older.
That meant different measures had to be taken to ensure the residents who were older would be properly accommodated.
"We have those who are able-body parking outside in the neighborhood and then those who are or need additional assistance or have mobility challenges, we have special parking for them,” explained Nick Clay, Santa Barbara County EMS Agency Director.
For Susan Shaberman, who turned 75 in December, the wait was worth it.
"After I get both the doses and wait the period of time, I have grandchildren I haven't been able to hug. We have to like be outside and have masks and stay distanced and that's going to be just great,” Shaberman said.
Health officials say they continue to make changes as they go, like adding extra staff to vaccinate and additional age groups.
"We had so many folks who were excited and just wanted to get vaccinated and get our businesses back, get our community back to where we want to be. You can't see it but I have a huge smile on my face. It's just something that we are just so passionate about as public health experts,” Clay said.
Health officials say people who show up must have an appointment, and they suggest avoiding coming too early or too late to avoid long lines.
Friday's vaccination site will be at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. All appointments are already booked.
To keep up with appointment availability you can check out the counties website at https://publichealthsbc.org/covid-19-vaccine-appointment-registration/