County Plans for COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara County is making plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccination within the next few weeks once it's available.
During Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso detailed the upcoming process and procedure on who will be vaccinated first and how.
Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna are expected to receive emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the next few weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Public Health Department (CDPH), vaccine prioritization will take place due to the initial limited supply in two phases.
Phase 1a will include vaccinations of health care workers and first responders at hospitals, clinics, and pre-determined public health locations referred to as PODs. Pending allocation, this is expected to begin in mid to late December. Phase 1b will include older adults living in congregate or crowded settings and individuals with the highest risk for severe illness. This is expected to begin between mid-December to January 2021 at long-term care facilities and PODs.
Santa Barbara County's Public Health Department (PHD) estimates the county has over 20,000 health care workers in hospitals, skilled nursing and congregate living facilities, home health, hospice, and outpatient clinics. Additionally, there are nearly 2,000 first responders with the fire and police departments as well as ambulance services.
Phase 2 will include non-healthcare essential workers, people in congregate settings, and all other older adults. The time frame is currently aimed at mid-March or mid-April 2021 and will be available at community PODs.
PHD formed a COVID-19 Vaccination Workgroup with local healthcare providers to receive and administer the vaccine when available. The department now plans to set up a call center, develop staffing and logistics for distribution sites, and confirm support from cities.
Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg addressed any hesitancy about receiving the new vaccine and stated the Pfizer option is being reviewed by the FDA so there isn't a lot of public information available yet. But once there is he said he'll make sure the community is well informed on the facts and new developments.
COVID-19 Data in Santa Barbara County
Do-Reynoso stated the county is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, testing positivity rates, and hospitalizations in the past two weeks.
From November 16-30, there was a 10% increase in cumulative case count, 61% increase in active cases, 154% increase in hospitalizations, and 2% increase in deaths.
The areas seeing the biggest case increase are Santa Barbara with a 61% jump and Lompoc with 47%.
The occupations with the most positive cases continue to be clerical/management, followed by those under 18 years of age, and retired/unemployed.
Do-Reynoso stated an increase in hospitalizations can occur quite rapidly as data shows hospitalizations increase two to three weeks after an increase in cases.
More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org