In Santa Barbara County, the age for getting a COVID-19 vaccine has been brought down to 65 years or older. Appointments are very limited, although you can sign up for a COVID vaccine at any Public Health Department site. Appointments may fill up quite quickly due to limited supply. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are being distributed as of now. Both consist of two shots which are taken within 2 weeks of each other to be fully effective.
Recently, both of my grandmothers got the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. I had the chance to speak to one of them about the experience. During my interview, I asked her a few questions about the process to get some insight into how the whole system worked and if she had any side effects. She told me “There were no open spots in Santa Barbara at the time, so [she] had to go to Santa Maria.” They arrived at the Marian Hospital, which she told me was set up very nicely with white tents all surrounding the vaccination area. She got her and her husband’s appointments through the Public Health Department website, which led her to the Marian Regional Medical Center. I asked her about the process and she replied that “The process was really fast, they had me pull up and then take our temperatures, then lead us to the tent where we would get our vaccines. The nurses were all very nice and we were in and out in less than an hour. They also had us wait 15 minutes to make sure we didn’t have any bad side effects.” Asked whether she experienced any of these, she told me neither her, nor my grandfather had any major side effects, except for some pain in her arm where the shot was placed. Even though she had to go to Santa Maria, it was well worth it. Santa Barbara did not have enough vaccines for the over 36,000 elderly people in the specific age group that qualifies, with only 10,000 vaccines in stock in Santa Barbara at the time.
When arriving at your COVID vaccine site, you must bring your ID with you for verification. Santa Barbara County is receiving about 6,000 doses per week as of now, and with 61,000 ordered, they are hoping to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible. Some pharmacies and other public health sites around the county are providing vaccine appointments. Cottage Health and Sansum Clinic are offering vaccination sites and are open for signups, while space is limited. Cottage health is having drive-up vaccinations which also requires appointments that are available on the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Website. Cottage Hospital is taking 65 years or older, while the Sansum Clinic is giving vaccines to ongoing patients, 75 years and older. On Friday, February 12, Cottage Health vaccinated 7,435 healthcare workers and 9,424 people within 75 years or older. Vaccines are slowly although efficiently being distributed throughout Santa Barbara County.