Despite the offering of COVID-19 vaccines being higher than ever, racial disparities in vaccine access are worsening in Santa Barbara County as the rate of vaccinated Latinx and Hispanic residents continues to lag behind White residents.
The trend in vaccine access has seen ups and downs — in February, Latinx residents were vaccinated at half the rate of White residents but by early April faced a vaccination rate gap of just 3%, according to county data.
By the end of April, the gap had widened, with Latinx and Hispanic residents' share of doses trailing behind that of White residents by around 11%.
According to county vaccine data as of April 30, Hispanic and Latinx residents, who make up around 48% of the county population, have received 32% of administered vaccine doses, while White residents have received 43%, equal to their representation of the county population.
However, racial and ethnic data is also missing for 15% of all people who have received doses, close to 32,000 people, according to county data.
Recognizing the barriers many communities of color face in getting vaccines, Santa Barbara County Public Health officials have made concentrated efforts to expand opportunities for communities of color, collaborating with local organizations to establish mobile clinics throughout the county.
While several vaccine appointments remain open throughout the county on any given day, county officials have noted a drop in registration, as well as increases in no-shows for first- and second-dose appointments, although they were unable to offer specific numbers.
To facilitate the process of getting a vaccine, many sites are now accepting walk-ins along with scheduled appointments in hopes of reaching more residents.
Residents requiring assistance with making a vaccine appointment can call the county vaccine hotline at 211 and select option 4.
Daily COVID-19 cases
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 16 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death from the illness on Friday.
According to county public health data, 34,180 total COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the county and 153 cases remain active.
The additional death was of a Santa Barbara resident over the age of 70. This is the 450th death from the illness in the county, according to county data.
As of Friday, 14 county residents were hospitalized for COVID-19, including two residents in the intensive care unit.
In Santa Maria, 29 out of 11,497 total COVID-19 cases remain active and 156 individuals have died from the illness.
In Orcutt, four out of 1,816 total cases remain active and 29 individuals have died.
In Lompoc, 19 out of 3,698 total cases remain active and 54 individuals have died.
In the Santa Ynez Valley area of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, seven out of 1,023 total cases remain active and 18 individuals have died.
In the North County area of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, seven out of 1,293 total cases remain active and 22 individuals have died.
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with 21,193 total cases now confirmed in the county.
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