Santa Barbara County has received delivery of its first 3,900 Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, which will be split evenly between the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Marian Regional Medical Center to inoculate frontline health care workers, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said in a press release on Thursday. An additional 2,925 doses are set to be delivered next week.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots, taken three weeks apart, and is 95% effective, according to the CDC.
Gregg Hart, chair of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, said at the board’s Dec. 15 meeting that there are around 20,000 frontline health care workers in Santa Barbara County. As shipments of the vaccine arrive, the goal will be to provide the first shot to as many health care workers as possible, with the second dose to arrive in future shipments.
After local health care workers in Santa Barbara County receive the vaccine, staff members and residents of long-term care facilities will be next, followed by Emergency Medical Services first responders and dialysis providers, according to the press release.
The Moderna vaccine, authorized by the FDA on Friday, could provide an additional 6,600 doses to Santa Barbara County as soon as next week, according to Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBPHD). The 6,600 Moderna vaccines will also be administered to health care workers. Similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective and requires two separate doses four weeks apart, according to the LA Times.
The vaccine comes as the daily case count continues to rise, in part due to gatherings from Thanksgiving, Do-Reynoso said. Henning Ansorg, SBPHD health officer, hopes the vaccine will provide relief now that it has begun arriving to the county.
“We have spoken of the light at the end of this tunnel and it has finally arrived in Santa Barbara County,” Ansorg said in the press release. “We need every community member to continue wearing a mask, staying home as much as possible, and for those that have tested positive, please isolate immediately.”