Santa Barbara and SLO counties to get COVID-19 vaccine this month

Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 00:36:53-05

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties are set to get their first round of the COVID-19 vaccine sometime this month.

Santa Barbara County Health officials expect to receive the vaccine as soon as next Friday.

Officials in both counties say they are still working out who will be receiving that first round.

"We are trying to be very equitable and we are trying to be very conscientious about the people needing it first,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer.

According to health officials in Santa Barbara County, they will be receiving about 3,900 vaccines. That's about 7% of what they need to cover the 20,000 health care workers in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

"We do know that some people don't want to get it right from the get-go so yeah, 3,900 is not going to go a long way; however, that is just the first batch that is ready to get shipped," Dr. Ansorg said.

In San Luis Obispo County, the first round of vaccines will total about 2,000, according to Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, which will cover about 8% of the health care working population.

To help with decisions on who will get these vaccines, SLO County announced last week that it would be forming a COVID-19 vaccination task force.

"We are going to look to that group to help us make the decisions of how to tier this vaccine availability. We will almost certainly start with the highest risk health care workers and hospitals," Dr. Borenstein said.

As more doses become available within the next few months and all health care workers and first responders get the vaccine, that's when the general public will have a chance to choose to take it.

"Anybody who goes to their doctor can get it at some point but I don't foresee that until March or April to be quite honest," Dr. Ansorg said.

According to state health officials, the second phase of vaccine distribution will include non-healthcare essential workers.