The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s April 16 COVID-19 update was filmed as a video and not conducted as a press conference. To view the April 16 updates, please click here. On April 23, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) resumed its regular press conferences. The following article outlines the updates from the April 23 press conference. To view the update, please click here

For any Isla Vista or Goleta resident looking to schedule a vaccine appointment, click here for more information. 

Vaccine Update 

  • As of Friday, the county has received 299,769 vaccines and administered 84.1% of them. In addition, 154,109 of those vaccines have been administered as first doses and 87,642 as second doses. Of the total vaccine count, 9,983 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have also been administered. The county has designated 15.9% of the remaining doses for future appointments. 
  • A total of 42% of county residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose. Currently, 27% of county residents are fully vaccinated. 
  • All residents ages 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Minors must demonstrate proof of parental consent, and parents are recommended to accompany minors to their vaccine appointments.
  • On April 27, there will be a walk-up vaccine clinic in the city of Santa Barbara. On April 28, there will be another walk-up vaccine clinic in Santa Maria. Both are for first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 
  • SBCPHD has created five mobile teams to provide anywhere between 50 to 300 Moderna vaccines at various locations including worksites, housing facilities, places of worship, warehouses and community organizations. To request their services, email mobileclinic@sbcphd.org
  • Anyone without a car can still schedule a COVID-19 vaccination at Cottage Hospital’s drive-thru vaccination clinic through either of its walk-thru or bike-thru options.
  • The county’s supply of vaccines is now larger than the demand, according to Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer. Ansorg dispeled rumors and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines that could feed into vaccine hesitancy with the following responses: 
    • Pfizer and Moderna do not affect fertility. 
    • Pregnant people are safe to receive the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Ansorg said, citing a recent study from The New England Journal of Medicine. 
    • Those who had COVID-19 are encouraged to still receive the vaccine because the vaccine provides greater protection against variants and stronger immunity overall.  
    • Since the first trials began over 13 months ago, there have been no reported long-term adverse outcomes from receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 
    • Vaccinations may cause short-term side effects such as headaches, body aches and fevers but typically only last for one to two days. Ansorg said these effects actually show that the vaccine is stimulating the body’s immune response and are common with other vaccines as well. 
    • Severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions — called anaphylaxis — occur very rarely and generally happen to those with a propensity for such severe reactions, according to Ansorg. EpiPens and other allergy medications are used to manage anaphylaxis, and on rare occasions, the affected individual is referred to the emergency department for additional observation. Ansorg said that all cases of patients with anaphylaxis in the county recovered quickly. Anyone with a history of anaphylaxis is observed for 30 minutes post-vaccination. 
    • Though many have expressed concern over the speed at which the vaccines were developed, Ansorg said that the underlying biotechnology of the mRNA vaccines and other viruses have been studied for at least a decade. “No corners were cut in completion of the mandatory phases one, two and three necessary to gain FDA authorization,” Ansorg said. “I would like to emphasize that all three vaccines used so far have shown to prevent severe COVID and death from COVID completely.” If a vaccinated individual were to get COVID-19, their symptoms would be mild and most likely would not require hospitalization. 

COVID-19 Numbers and Data Update

  • The COVID-19 case rate in Santa Barbara County has dropped by 41% in the last two weeks. “We haven’t see low case rates like this since September,” Ansorg said. “We’ve never made it into the orange tier [before] so we’ve never seen ICU admission rates at 10 or 12 … since September.” 

Public Health Official Statements 

  • A mobile vaccination clinic may soon be coming to Isla Vista, according to SBCPHD Director Van Do-Reynoso.
  • Ansorg said that vaccinated individuals who may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to get tested unless they exhibit concerning symptoms. 
  • Ansorg said that a small jump in cases after Easter and spring break may have caused the county to reach the orange tier two weeks later than originally anticipated. 
  • Ansorg said there is reason to believe that there is more vaccine hesitancy in the mid-county of Santa Barbara than in the North or South County. In addition, Ansorg said that conservative communities and men are more likely to be hesitant to get the vaccine compared to the rest of the general population.
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Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer is an assistant news editor. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs, and loud prints.