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Just 33% of Santa Barbara County residents fully vaccinated for COVID-19
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Just 33% of Santa Barbara County residents fully vaccinated for COVID-19

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Although the number of COVID-19 vaccinations being administered in Santa Barbara County has steadily increased since December, only a third of county residents have been fully inoculated against the disease, according to a May 4 report to the Board of Supervisors.

However, the demand for vaccination is softening, despite increases in the availability of vaccines and the segments of the population eligible to receive it, County Public Health Department Director Van Do-Reynoso told the board.

“We have an abundance of vaccine appointments and are also experiencing a decrease in demand,” she said. “As such, we flex the number of vaccines we are ordering on behalf of our health-care system.”

Of those eligible to be vaccinated, 41.5% have received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Do-Reynoso said.

Residents who are age 16 and older are currently eligible to be vaccinated.

Do-Reynoso said 47.1% of county residents have received either a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single-dose J&J vaccine, but there was no breakdown of the percentage who have only received a first dose of the two-dose varieties.

Since starting the mobile vaccination clinics April 15, a total of 3,253 vaccinations were conducted at 39 locations, she said, and last week 15 clinics were planned. Many of them, including in Santa Maria and one providing the one-dose J&J vaccine at the Lompoc Outdoor Market on Saturday, offered walk-up service without an appointment.

Do-Reynoso also displayed pie charts showing the mobile vaccination clinics heavily targeted agricultural workers at their worksites, those in senior centers and others reached through community organizations and individuals in faith-based communities.

Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart said the vaccination percentages are “really outstanding numbers” when compared to rates nationally and in other places.

“But it does still point out that we have a challenge going ahead — the rate of vaccination is slowing and our supply is dramatically increased to the point now where we have plenty of vaccine,” he said.

“There is really no reason for somebody to not be able to get vaccinated easily, simply, and so we have to get, I think, into the persuasion business and convince people that it’s safe and important to do so, as we’re beginning to reopen the economy and some of the really extreme measures are lessening,” he continued.

“I think there’s a natural tendency for some people who haven’t been vaccinated to sort of think, ‘Well, I can get by, and it’s not really going to be critical,’ but it is, and we don’t have to look very far around the world to see this virus is far from contained.”

Third District Supervisor Joan Hartman added that getting vaccinated protects those who can’t be vaccinated by reducing transmission.

“We still have to double our numbers, so get vaccinated,” she said, adding that when the vaccines receive full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, some private sector enterprises may require vaccination and “we may have a run on vaccine, so get it now.”

First District Supervisor Das Williams said the numbers show a significant effort to reach hard-to-reach populations, but he asked for an analysis of what demographic groups have been vaccinated and which have not for disclosure to the public.

Do-Reynoso responded that the Public Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard breaks down vaccinations by race and ethnicity, age, gender and region.

The dashboard shows that 43% of those vaccinated are White, followed by 33% Hispanic/Latino, 15% whose race and ethnicity is unknown, 4% Asian, 3% listed as “other,” 1% each for Black/African American and those of multiple races.

American Indian/Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander groups each account for zero percent of those vaccinated.

Vaccinations by region show a disparity between the North County at 42,662 and the South County at 85,734. The Mid County vaccinations stand at 24,838.

In all, the county has administered 356,399 doses, with 202,531 of those first doses, 138,678 of them second doses and 14,572 the one-dose variety.

Coronavirus: Impact, response to COVID-19 on the Central Coast

We are working hard to get answers about the impact and reaction to the coronavirus in Santa Barbara County, this is a collection of those stories.

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