Carbajal, Local Health Officials Announce $1.6M in Grants to Improve COVID-19 Booster Rates

By the Office of Rep. Salud Carbajal

Today, Congressman Salud Carbajal joined local health officials to announce four new federal grants totaling $1,634,218 aimed at raising the number of Central Coast residents who have received the new bivalent COVID-19 booster, which is designed to combat more recent variants of the novel coronavirus.

The full press conference can be viewed here.

“While we have made great strides at reducing COVID-19’s control over our lives on the Central Coast, the constantly-improving tools that we have to keep this virus at bay won’t help anyone if people fail to take the time to use them,” said Rep. Carbajal. “In order to keep our communities and frontline workers protected from newer strains of COVID-19, and keep our hospitals from being overrun in this perfect storm of multiple infectious illnesses this winter, we need more people to get these boosters. I’m proud that the federal funding that I’ve supported for our federal health departments are coming back to help our local health officials get these shots in arms as quickly as possible.”

“The best thing you can give your family this holiday season is the gift of good health – and that means getting your booster and flu shots as soon as possible, and staying home if you’re feeling sick,” Rep. Carbajal added.

The following grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were announced today by Rep. Carbajal:

  • $1,041,493 for Community Health Centers of the Central Coast
  • $265,765 for the County of Santa Barbara
  • $214,258 for Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics
  • $112,702 American Indian Health & Services

The funding is made possible by a 12% increase in the HHS annual budget which Rep. Carbajal voted to approve in March 2022.

“We are incredibly fortunate to receive this funding from our Federal partners and HRSA to increase COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine awareness, with a specific focus on underserved populations. As we know from our patients and as is reported regularly in the news, COVID is still an ongoing concern even as we pivot from the pandemic footing back into our role as a key provider in our County’s Health Care Safety Net Delivery System,” said Dana Gamble, Deputy Director of the Primary Care and Family Health Division at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “This funding will ensure we have resources through May 2023 to support a number of our COVID activities designed to promote the widespread availability of vaccines in our community and increase the demand for the highly effective boosters.” 

“Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC) is honored to be selected for the Federal Government’s continued investment in the health and wellbeing of our area’s most vulnerable and underserved residents, such as farmworkers, low-income families, seniors, and the uninsured,” said Ron Castle, CEO of Community Health Centers of the Central Coast. “The Expanding COVID-19 Vaccination (ECV) Funding will serve as a vital resource in our work towards education of and providing the COVID-19 Vaccine and boosters. Being  fully vaccinated continues to be the most effective way to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, and this funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will allow CHC to continue this effort.”

“SBNC considers preventative health a key  pillar of excellent health care services. Immunizations, known for decades to be safe and effective, are an important, but underutilized, part of preventative care,” said Dr. Susan Lawton, Chief Medical Officer for Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. “Our primary care Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics providers all focus on keeping our seen patients up to date on recommended vaccines for their age. One area of focus for SBNC is creating a program whereby we can reach out to our assigned but not yet seen patients to spread the protection of vaccines throughout the community.”

“It is important more than ever, especially at the peak of the flu season and with an increase of in-person travel and loved ones coming together for the holidays, that we continue to vaccinate those that can be vaccinated,” said Scott Black, Chief Executive Officer, American Indian Health & Services. “AIH&S will work closely with other community partners in making sure that not only our patients have access to these vaccines, but that everyone in the community will have access to these vaccines. We are all one community.”

Currently, less than twenty percent of eligible Santa Barbara County residents have received the latest version of the COVID-19 booster. Nearly 70 percent of County residents have completed their primary series of vaccinations.

The public health officials and Rep. Carbajal also used today’s announcement to encourage Central Coast residents to be mindful of elevated rates of three different infectious diseases ahead of holiday gatherings and travel this month: COVID-19, seasonal influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Central Coast residents were encouraged to get their updated boosters and flu shot as soon as possible, stay home from work or school when you are sick, and practice other good health habits including frequent hand washing, wearing a face covering, and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Central Coast residents can find a COVID-19 booster or flu shot near them by visiting

Rep. Carbajal also highlighted his recent work helping introduce the Protecting America from Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Act (the “Influenza Act”), which would bolster federal response to seasonal and pandemic influenza as seasonal flu rates.

More information on the Influenza Act can be found here.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.


Written by Anonymous

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  1. Keeping it going…I wonder HOW the 1.6M will be used by the CHC (just as an example), is there any accountability happening with the money, and how many similar grants are being given out by the Feds across the country. Probably thousands. Seeing/hearing a lot of ads on TV and radio telling everyone to get their boosters. Many are sponsored by Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna – they’re absolutely cashing in.

  2. Vaccination (pre 2015): Injection of a killed or weakened infectious organism in order to PREVENT the disease.___ Vaccination (2015-2021): The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce IMMUNITY to a specific disease.____ Vaccination (September 2021): The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce PROTECTION from a specific disease.

    • Absolutely exhausting, this one. If all we had for measles, mumps, etc, was a shot (call it whatever you need to in order to sleep at night) that helped the world during a massive pandemic of a NOVEL virus to quickly (relatively) slow the death rates and help clear out the overcrowded hospitals, you wouldn’t be for requiring it? Or no, you’d just wait until it actually stops/cures the virus? Be honest with yourself.

    • I remember when people on here said it was essential to compel everyone to get the covid vaccine because it would lead to herd immunity and stop transmission of the virus. Many claimed that anyone who refused to get vaccinated was endangering others. Anyone who questioned these claims was liable to have their comments deleted here and on many other platforms. Well, it turns out the covid vaccine doesn’t confer immunity or stop virus transmission. In fact, the covid vaccine’s efficacy was not consistent with the CDC’s definition of what a vaccine is so they had to change their definition. In the end, the premise used to justify forcing the vaccine on those who didn’t want it proved to be false. In the fullness of time we will learn more about covid and the vaccines. However, one thing we can be certain of right now is the corporations that manufactured the vaccines made unfathomable amounts of money.

    • Again, ad nauseam, you antivax idiots promote the fallacy that a vaccination prevents illness 100%. That has never been true, and most likely never will be (see how that works?). Any sane person realizes that. We all know that you’re paltering in hopes of pushing an agenda.
      All data to date shows unequivocally that the COVID vaccines saved lives and reduced the burden of disease. That’s what vaccines do. Even the new bivalent vaccine has ample data showing its efficacy.

    • No one is disputing whether the vaccines saved lives, that they reduce the severity of infection in the elderly and those with underlying conditions, or that other vaccines prevent 100% of the illnesses their designed to treat (though it’s close to it, heard of any kids getting chicken pox, measles, etc. these days?) but what is clear and backed up by the CDC is that the covid vaccines don’t stop transmission or prevent you from getting covid, contrary to their many previous claims that it did – they lied and used that lie to compel people to take them and justify vaccine mandates to the detriment of many. That is the issue. They should have been open and honest about what the shots could and could not do from the beginning. Had they done that, gone with honesty instead, I believe many of the elderly and at-risk who refused the vaccine wouldn’t have taken it, which in turn would have saved more lives.

    • 10:21, it has been thoroughly proven that getting vaccinated doesn’t stop people from getting covid and transmitting it. I personally got covid despite having been vaccinated. I would add, I have been vaccinated for numerous diseases in my lifetime and covid is the only one I got despite being vaccinated for it. I think most people who got the covid vaccine had a similar experience. Since the covid vaccine doesn’t stop the covid virus from infecting people and freely transmitting, I don’t see the basis for arguing it should be compulsory. It should instead be an individual decision. Below is a great write up from the ACLU about why it is wrong to force vaccines on people, and how a better public health result can be achieved through encouraging voluntary vaccinations.

    • 10:21 was probably one of the many who called those of us who questioned the mandates, policies and vaccines claims (a brand new vaccines with zero long-term data) as “science deniers”, now showing us who the real “science deniers” are and the Science™ they thought there were following was just propaganda: “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus — they don’t get sick,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday. That’s “not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.” Then Maddow repeats this ad-nauseum to her viewers leading to people like 10:21 thinking they’re “following the science” when in reality it’s just propaganda.

  3. Sac- So everything told to us by our government and media has been 100% correct from the start of Covid? That’s what you’re implying? You should say it… I have gotten the recent booster, even though my cardiologist said I shouldn’t. I have a cardiologist, because of either covid or the shot. I don’t care what others do to protect themselves, but the “science”, or at least what they tell us, is crap. It’s grasping at straws to make a real decision about this stuff.

  4. MEBK – they’re not deleted, they’re right there in the penalty box. Change the date to yesterday though, as that’s when Voice of _______ and I had our useless spat. You didn’t miss much. The usual anti-vax rules stuff along with deflection and whataboutism when confronted with direct questions.

  5. Yeah exactly, this started out with one thing and turned into another – an absolute gravy train of taxpayer dollars funneling right into big pharma. They’re killing it, and will continue to do so as long as sheep follow them and their politicians. It’s time we lose the word “COVID” and call it getting a cold from a coronavirus, which is and always has been one of the most common cold-producing viruses forever.

Sheared Fire Hydrant on Milpas

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