COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

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By edhat staff

The Public Health Department (PHD) announced the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Santa Barbara County as daily case counts continue to rise.

Local hospital health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine with employees at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria being the first.

Due to limited supplies, Santa Barbara County has a local plan which includes a phased approach to distribute the vaccine over the weeks and months ahead, according to PHD.

Following the vaccination of hospital staff will be long-term care facility residents and staff and then first responders in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system and dialysis providers. The initial 3,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have arrived with 1,950 doses going to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and 1,950 doses going to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

“We have spoken of the light at the end of this tunnel and it has finally arrived in Santa Barbara County,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “This vaccine is our most important tool for ending the COVID-19 pandemic in our county. While the light at the end of the tunnel has arrived, we are very much still in the tunnel, as we’ve heard State officials share. We need every community member to continue wearing a mask, staying home as much as possible, and for those that have tested positive, please isolate immediately.” 

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that has arrived will work to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and improve our natural defenses through increasing our antibodies to fight the virus. With two doses given three weeks apart, this vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the recipient of the vaccine. The phased distribution of the vaccine will begin with those at highest risk of contracting the virus, PHD stated in a press release.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Officials have been preparing to see a spike in positive cases in the two weeks following the Thanksgiving Holiday. As a result of those who chose to gather with others outside of their immediate household, despite stated health guidance, the impact has been some of the highest daily case counts seen to date.

“The arrival of the vaccine could not come at a more critical time for our county,” said Dr. Ansorg. “We have been working for months to prepare for a local distribution plan and will begin with those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19.”

As more supply becomes available, the county will progress in the phased distribution of the most powerful tool we have against COVID-19, increasing the opportunity for more people in our community to get vaccinated. The general public will have a chance to be vaccinated in Spring 2021. This timeline will be updated as more is known. 

Current COVID-19 Numbers

There were three deaths reported on Wednesday. The individuals resided in the City of Santa Maria, City of Goleta and the Federal Prison in Lompoc. All 3 individuals had underlying medical conditions and were associated with a congregate living facility. Two individuals were over 70 years of age and one individual was between the ages of 18-29 years old.

The death from the Federal Prison in Lompoc is not associated with a current outbreak at the correctional institution. The delay is a result of the death reporting process requiring coroner verification.

There has now been a total of 145 deaths within Santa Barbara County.

On Wednesday there were 196 new cases reported and 234 on Thursday. 

The total case count is now 14,190 with 1,120 still infectious in the region. Of those, there are 91 hospitalizations including 23 in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Santa Barbara County's ICU availability is 29.10% while the entire Southern California Region is at 0.00%. 

More data is available at

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SBSand Dec 18, 2020 06:51 AM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

They started vaccinating our front line health care workers yesterday, it will be available for the public pretty soon. In the meantime avoiding gatherings with large groups and wearing masks when around non-household members will really go a LONG way towards helping. Currently there are 50 people with covid admitted to SB Cottage. :(

AQUAHOLIC Dec 17, 2020 08:45 PM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

And just like that....What ICU beds? The vaccine is not going to save us, if we don't save ourselves, change our behaviors.
STOP downplaying this pandemic, we are heading into crisis mode fast. Wear your damn masks, don't gather, stay at home.

"California has set nationwide records for new cases again and again in the past week — most recently on Thursday, when it posted more than 50,000 infections, over 100,000 in 48 hours. If California were a country, it would be among the world leaders in new coronavirus cases, ahead of India, Germany and Britain. And the state’s test positivity rate continues to climb, meaning the virus is spreading faster. The rate is now 11.5 percent, more than twice what experts consider high-risk."
"California is also setting daily death records. On Thursday, the state reported 379 new fatalities, topping its previous high of 293, set the day before."
The number of available beds in intensive care units is plummeting. In the San Joaquin Valley, hospitals ran out over the weekend, resorting to “surge capacity.” In Southern California, a region that includes Los Angeles and San Diego, ICU capacity fell to 0 percent Thursday.
“I want to be very clear: Our hospitals are under siege, and our model shows no end in sight,” Christina Ghaly, director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services, said at a dire news briefing Wednesday.
Because it takes, on average, more than a week for people to get sick enough to be hospitalized, Thursday’s capacity numbers actually reflect case numbers that are roughly 10 days old, when the state was reporting a daily average of 10,000 fewer infections.
“The worst, is still before us.”

ChemicalSuperFreak Dec 17, 2020 07:32 PM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

Word on the street is that the vaccine vials that Pfizer shipped are overfilled significantly, and the FDA has authorized pharmacists to use the extra doses to vaccinate patients. The vials were supposed to contain only 5 doses, but many of the vials have enough for 7 doses.

ChemicalSuperFreak Dec 18, 2020 01:04 PM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

Firstly, Pfizer has already admitted to overfilling the vials to account for spillage as well as the inherent error that comes with using disposable syringes. Second, the ISO 788-1 tolerance for 0.3 mL delivered from a 1 mL syringe is +/- 7%, which is 0.021 mL on a 0.3 mL dose. Times five doses and that's 0.105 mL, well short of the 0.6 mL that pharmacists have discovered is remaining in the vial. Thus, the vials were overfilled significantly.

a-1608310485 Dec 18, 2020 08:54 AM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

The word from the scientific community is that the vials were filled exactly as designed and that some syringes are more efficient at drawing doses. The "extra" was because certain syringes would pull only 5 whereas the better ones pull 6. This is not a mistake but is helpful if the more efficient design is available to your staff.

LooseCannon Dec 17, 2020 07:13 PM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

By the time they roll this vaccine out, at the current snail's pace, i will be either dead, recovered from COVID, or we will have reached herd immunity. It's pathetic. We should be mobilizing all of our resources.

a-1608262542 Dec 17, 2020 07:35 PM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

Gee, wouldn't it have been nice if the federal government had done that? Instead, they are now telling states they won't be getting the vaccine shipped in the quantities initially promised. Even Pfizer is complaining that it has millions of doses waiting for the feds to allocate and ship. Just another indicator of the massive incompetence of the administration.

SBTownie Dec 17, 2020 07:24 PM
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives as Cases Continue to Increase

I could not agree more. At the current rate of vaccine receipts, it will take approximately 2 years to vaccinate the county. Assuming a 3x increase in vaccine quantity with Moderna coming online, we're still looking at nearly a year if all goes well. At the rate cases are increasing, I'll have been infected with COVID by then.

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