In an announcement on Friday, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says residents age 65 and older will be able to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday, Feb. 16.
This means that local health care providers, pharmacies, hospitals and County vaccination sites can open appointments to those 65 and older once more vaccines become available.
The County says vaccine supplies are still limited so there will only be a certain number of appointments made available.
“We ask that until vaccine supply increases, the community allow those at greatest risk for exposure and serious health outcomes, to make their vaccine appointments first,” said Van Do-Reynoso, Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “The entire community will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and work toward the community as a whole being safe from the risks of the virus.”
Some community members are in favor of the state's recent decision.
San Luis Obispo resident, Dominic Juliano, says he thinks it is the right move.
"I do think it is a good idea that those with underlying conditions should be first in line so they are more protected than others," he says.
Another SLO resident, Brooke Farminer, says she feels offering the vaccine to those most vulnerable is important.
"I have personal experience with people in my family passing away from this disease because they have health issues, it's serious," she says.
The County says it expects to receive nearly 6,000 doses of the vaccine next week. Of which, the vast majority are slated for second doses. About 11,000 second doses will be administered in the next two weeks.
Santa Barbara County has over 40,000 residents between the ages of 65 and 74.
“We are excited to open appointments to vulnerable community members to have their first access to the vaccine” said, Dr. Do-Reynoso. “We are continuing to make progress in vaccine administration based on the maximum allocation Santa Barbara County is able to request from the state.”
Those interested in booking an appointment to get vaccinated may do so online.