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Santa Barbara County residents 16 and up now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
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Santa Barbara County residents 16 and up now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

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John Tippit, of Santa Barbara, receives his vaccination from Nicolette Mabeza, a nurse from Los Angeles, during a county COVID-19 immunization clinic at the Dick DeWees Community & Senior Center in Lompoc on Thursday. The roving clinic moved to Santa Maria on Sunday.

Santa Barbara County residents ages 16 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, expanding access to the largest group of residents yet, county public health officials said Monday.

At this time, residents 16 and older can register for appointments to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the county's community vaccination site at Hancock College in Santa Maria, where several slots are available from Thursday through Sunday, public health spokeswoman Jackie Ruiz said.

Residents 18 and older can register for an appointment to receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort for clinics taking place April 6 and 8, or to receive the Moderna vaccine at Hancock College on Wednesday only, according to Ruiz.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, residents 16 and older are approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are both limited to residents at least 18 years old.

Appointments at the Santa Barbara clinics are available from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We have reached a critical moment in our vaccination efforts where all groups able to receive the vaccine are now eligible at county Public Health community vaccination clinics,” county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said. “Now is the time to encourage your family members, neighbors, co-workers to do their part and receive the vaccine as soon as they can."

Residents can register for appointments at both these sites online at publichealthsbc.org/phd-vaccination-clinics, or by calling 211 and selecting option 4 for assistance.

The 16-plus age group will have widespread access to vaccines through providers including hospitals, pharmacies and clinics beginning April 15. Depending on vaccine supplies, some providers may provide doses sooner.

Santa Barbara County's roving clinic began its weeklong stay at Hancock College in Santa Maria on Sunday, following one week in Lompoc. Over 10,000 appointments have been made available at the college over the seven-day period from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

While the clinic is open to all eligible county residents, Santa Marians are highly encouraged to take advantage of the local vaccine opportunity.

Eligible groups in the county include residents 50 and older, residents 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions and disabilities, and workers in food, agriculture, child care, education and emergency service jobs. 

Anyone in these groups who either lives or works in Santa Barbara County is eligible to receive the vaccine from local providers, according to Do-Reynoso. 

Daily COVID-19 cases

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 69 new COVID-19 cases over the April 3 to 4 weekend, followed by 21 cases on Monday. 

According to county public health data, 33,358 total COVID-19 cases have been confirmed and 196 cases remain active.

The number of individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 increased by 68% from Sunday to Monday, according to county data. Twenty-seven individuals are hospitalized, including seven in the intensive care unit.

In Santa Maria, 54 out of 11,225 total COVID-19 cases remain active and 153 individuals have died from the illness.

In Orcutt, seven out of 1,768 total cases remain active and 29 individuals have died.

In Lompoc, 21 out of 3,543 total cases remain active and 53 individuals have died.

In the Santa Ynez Valley area of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, four out of 989 total cases remain active and 17 individuals have died.

In the North County area of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, 10 out of 1,274 total cases remain active and 22 individuals have died.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported 37 new COVID-19 cases over the April 3 to 4 weekend, followed by 22 additional cases on Monday.

In total, 20,606 cases have been confirmed in the county and 240 cases remain active, according to county public health data.

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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