COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) hosted a Town Hall answering questions regarding COVID-19 on Thursday evening.

The overall theme of the meeting was to build trust with community members, especially minorities who have been hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine, and voiced concerns about not having the same access to resources as other residents.

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated her department's role is to build partnerships with community organizations to remove barriers to vaccination sites and information. She stated that health inequities existed before the pandemic but they are now being seen more than ever.

The meeting was available in English, Spanish, and Mixteco with community leaders asking questions that mostly centered on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and distribution. 

While San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties are now offering COVID-19 vaccines to all residents aged 65 and older, PHD stated Santa Barbara County does not yet have the supply to administer doses outside healthcare workers and those over 75 years of age. However, Dr. Do-Reynoso stated this will change quickly.

Thursday's COVID-19 Numbers

PHD reported 8 new deaths and 153 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. All eight individuals were over 70 years of age. Four individuals had underlying health conditions and four of the deaths were associated with an outbreak at a congregate-care facility. Four resided in Lompoc, two in Santa Maria, one in Santa Barbara, and one in the South County unincorporated area.

There have now been 366 total deaths within the county.

Currently, there are 836 infectious cases. Of those, 154 are hospitalized with 38 in the intensive care unit (ICU). Santa Barbara County's ICU availability is now 23.4%.


COVID-19 Outbreak at Sheriff's Office and County Jail

The Sheriff’s Office is reporting two additional staff and 13 additional inmates as being COVID-19 positive. One member of our professional staff and one Deputy have been found to be COVID-19 positive. This brings the total number of Sheriff’s employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 to 113, with 102 having recovered and returned to work.

The Main Jail is reporting 13 additional inmates towards the total number of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of these inmates were identified during the intake screening and 14-day quarantine process, and one of them has since been released. The remaining 11 cases have been traced to the outbreak discovered on February 2, 2021. The total number of active cases today is 46.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Main Jail COVID-19 Related Cases


Positive Upon Intake

Contracted Within Facility

Total Cases

Active Cases Medically Monitored/Treated








Released from Custody












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a-1613238250 Feb 13, 2021 09:44 AM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

It's concerning that to get a shot if under 75, people are frantically trying to schedule in drugstores miles away. Websites lock. Availability tantalizingly appears in some remote area or another (Bakersfield? Buellton?). And then, "vaccine not available at this location". I wonder about those with no computer availability or updates from Country Public Health, Samsun, Cottage, the State of California, etc. With all those resources, and computer access, still no go. Not really concerned personally, okay to wait, but it seems bizarre to announce availability in this way.

Shasta Guy Feb 12, 2021 06:54 PM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Our church had a town hall meeting on the vaccine moderated by a biology professor, an MD specializing in the elderly, and and ER nurse. My takeaway from it is that the main benefit of the vaccine is a great reduction in severe health consequences in the event you contract the virus. Therefore, the risks associated with the vaccine are far overshadowed by complications of getting the virus without it. I plan on getting the vaccine as soon as I am eligible for it.

RHS Feb 12, 2021 11:23 AM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Once again, from this report, it appears that CHD is mostly concerned about process and PR and much less about the duty to get a service to the community. The question is how could SB come in so far behind almost every other area in CA in getting the shots in the arms of the 65 plus community?? At one point I think CHD was bragging that we received a higher per capita number of COVID doses than did other places. If so what happened to that supply that means we can't proceed as LA, Ventura, SLO etc to offer at least an appointment to the 65 plus population. And, if not that group why did they abandon the 65 plus people with co-morbidity problems? If this were an elected office the incumbent should be voted out. As it is, the Board of Supervisors should hold a serious "post mortem" analysis of the mess but it should also intervene now to get this on track and at least catch up with other counties.

Bird Feb 12, 2021 07:45 AM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Taras, the Poynter Institute has a well-regarded journalism school and it owns the Tampa Bay Times. Research is done by its Politifact arm. It also provides annual awards to journalists. The most recent, 2020, was to Chri# Wallace of Fox News.

Maybe there is less flu this year because so many people are now wearing masks!

Alexblue Feb 12, 2021 11:42 AM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Running Mike--maybe the number of flu cases is really a little higher or a little lower. Considering that huge numbers of people have radically changed the behaviors which would normally transmit flu, of course I believe there has been a radical drop in flue transmission.

Don't you think that's a bit of a common sense call.

a-1613107833 Feb 11, 2021 09:30 PM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Running Mike, I think that covid is more contagious than the flu, so people who might have ordinarily gotten the flu got covid instead.

a-1613106968 Feb 11, 2021 09:16 PM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Now that social media companies are cracking down on falsehoods, you'll soon have to find your antivax nonsense elsewhere. You really have to be pretty gullible to believe that garbage.

JB86 Feb 12, 2021 12:35 AM
COVID-19 Town Hall Addresses Vaccine Concerns

Great question, Searay, and no answer from SB County Health. 65-75 people are totally in the lurch in SB county. No plan, no answers, just BS, basically 'we'll get back to you.'

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