Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns title=
Public Health Department Director Van Do-Reynoso speaking during a previous press conference
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) addressed vaccine concerns and COVID-19 updates during Friday's press conference.

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso kicked off the meeting by addressing the latest report by The Independent regarding an undocumented 92-year-old woman being unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a PHD clinic.

Do-Reynoso clarified this the clinic was booked this day and the person did not have an appointment so there wasn't a vaccine available nevertheless, she is sorry this incident occurred. Due to a shortage in vaccine supply, same-day appointments are not available. 

She stressed that lack of documentation will not be a barrier to receiving the vaccine and she hopes this will dispel fears, especially in undocumented community members. Per identification guidelines, PHD does need to verify eligibility and county residency. They are asking or any form or documentation with the same name that matches the appointment name. The document does not need to be goverment issued, and it will not be a barrier, she said.

She continued to explain this case appears to be a rarity and wants to reassure the community and encourage everyone to continue pursuing vaccination when they're eligible.

For the county's total vaccine supply, 93% of all allocated vaccines have been administered. Anyone age 65 and older or anyone who works in healthcare and longterm care are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Phase 1B that include educators, childcare workers, food/agricultural workers, and emergency medical services are next in line to receive the vaccine, which will happen "very soon" said Dr. Do-Reynoso.

The unexpected delay in Moderna vaccines this week due to the storm throughout the nation have significantly slowed down the supply chain. 

Schools and Sports to Return

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg reported the county's COVID-19 case rate for the past three days was below the 25 per 100,000 population threshold needed to reopen elementary schools. He said if the trend continues through the weekend, K-6 schools can reopen for in-person instructions as early as this coming Wednesday.

There are currently six public schools and one charter school that have completed the appropriate safety plan and can open next week providing the county meets the case rate requirements on Monday evening, said Dr. Ansorg.

He continued by advising schools who have not finalized their safety plan to do so now as there will only be a three-week window where schools can open regardless of case rates. However, if case rates creep up past the 25 threshold and schools have not been approved to reopen, they will have to wait until numbers reduce again.

On Friday, the state-issued guidance on outdoor and indoor youth and recreational adult sports activities can resume on February 26th.

"The guidance applies to all organized youth sports and recreation— including school- and community-sponsored programs, and privately-organized clubs and leagues — and adult recreational sports (hereafter youth and adult sports). This guidance does not apply to collegiate or professional sports. Additionally, this guidance does not apply to community events, such as marathons, half-marathons, and endurance races," according to the California Department of Public Health website.

COVID-19 Demographic Data

Dr. Do-Reynoso presented a series of slides showing COVID-19 data within specific demographics of our county from March through December of 2020.

The age group with the highest number of reported cases is 20-29 years old followed by 30-39 and then 40-49. The lowest number of cases appeared in the 0-9 age group. 

Comparing case rates to population size, working-age adults age 18-29 represented 30% of cases versus 21% of their population while 30-49 years old showed 33% of cases compared to their 24% population representation.

The majority of COVID-19 deaths occurred among older adults, being disproportionately higher than their population. The 50-69 age group had 25% of deaths compared to 22% of their population while the over 70 age group had 67% of deaths compared to their 11% population size.

Regarding race/ethnicity, communities of color were disproportionately impacted by the virus highlighting ongoing historic social and economic disparities, said Dr. Do-Reynoso.

For occupations, the highest number of cases were in the retired/unemployed category, likely due to skilled nursing and congregate care settings being hit the hardest with outbreaks. Clerical/management, laborers, healthcare workers, restaurant/food employees, and frontline occupations were also affected.

A full report will be available soon on the PHD website.

Friday's Numbers

PHD reported four deaths and 154 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

Two individuals were over 70 years of age and two were 50-69 years of age. Four individuals had underlying health conditions and one death was associated with an outbreak at a congregate-care site. One person resided in Santa Maria, one in Orcutt, one is north county unincorporated, and one in the Santa Ynez Valley.

There have been 392 deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic.

Currently, the county is experiencing 524 active cases. Of those, 92 are hospitalized and 21 are in the ICU. Santa Barbara County has 19.7% ICU availability.

Dr. Ansorg confirmed the case rate has significantly reduced, however it's still higher than the surge we experienced this past summer.

More data can be viewed at

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ginger1 Feb 19, 2021 08:04 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Has anyone read the State Sports Guidelines with Sports Risks Profiles. I wonder how many meetings, how much time and expense went into producing a ridiculous document about what sports have how much risk. Complete with over 50 bullet points, With the bottom line that players need to be wearing masks and be socially distance whenever possible. Seriously? My tax dollars paid for that?

For a good laugh, here's the source link:

ChemicalSuperFreak Feb 19, 2021 08:25 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Do-Reynoso's comments on the 92-year-old sure makes the entire thing sound like a political stunt of some kind, designed to get publicity. It's a shameful to exploit another human being like that. Hopefully the woman's family will stop using her as a prop, make an appointment just like everyone else, and help her get the vaccine.

dukemunson Feb 19, 2021 08:59 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Actually it just confirms what the people that were actually thinking while posting yesterday were right... this first day volunteer was outraged (along with the 92 year olds family) that a person with no ID and no appointment couldn’t green t exactly what they wanted the second they wanted it. It confirms that they didn’t have extra shots (which obviously!!!!... these are tough to come by right now) and realizing that they would have to cancel someone else’s appointment to give a shot to someone without an appointment or anything proving their identity... shouldn’t acquiesce to the demands of the family or the clueless day 1 volunteer.

dukemunson Feb 20, 2021 08:01 AM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

CSF (or anyone else on here more mathematically inclined than I) - a question perhaps you can answer:

With the Pfizer shot showing to be around 90% effective after 1 dose, shouldn’t we immediately switch to giving everyone a single dose instead of 2? If the second shot “only” brings the effectiveness up to 95%, wouldn’t it make quite a bit more sense to get twice as many people vaccinated at the 90% efficacy rate?

Ahchooo Feb 20, 2021 07:57 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Duke, what I heard is that they do not know how long the immunity lasts after the single dose, so some immunologists say we should continue with the original two-dose protocol. Ninety-percent immunity is great if it lasts, but they didn’t study it that way yet, so they don’t know. For whatever reasons, all the original testing included the second dose.

dukemunson Feb 20, 2021 08:03 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Fair enough! Obviously Seems like that would be an interesting thing to test/establish ASAP!!! 85-90% efficacy on first shot would would wildly change the distribution... we could get everyone that’s willing vaccinated months sooner !

ChemicalSuperFreak Feb 20, 2021 08:14 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Hi Duke. The point of the second dose is less about boosting the effectiveness of the vaccine, and more about providing long term protection.

The first dose primes the immune system to create antibodies, which are produced by plasma B cells (a type of white blood cell). Long term protection is provided by memory B and T cells (other types of white blood cells), and prolonged exposure to an antigen or a booster vaccine is thought to stimulate the proliferation of these cells. After the infection these cells migrate to certain places in your body where they'll be cloned for a period of time and remain prepared to deal with a reinfection, sometimes years after first exposure. Think about the 10 year interval between tetanus shots, or the fact that most people only get chicken pox once in their lives. That's the job of these memory cells.

Given that COVID is mutating and may eventually evade the immune system, these memory cells may be of little use and therefore the utility of boosters is debatable, since you'll probably require a reformulation of the vaccine on a regular basis to confer additional immunity to the new variants. I see your point of using the boosters as priming doses for people who have not yet received the vaccine, and this seems like a valid strategy to me.

a-1613852271 Feb 20, 2021 12:17 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Imagine for a moment someone so lacking in basic human empathy that they would gleefully deny a lifesaving vaccine from someone who is the very definition of vulnerable - a 92 year old Hispanic grandmother. Then, in an attempt to justify their decision, totally fabricate a motive for the woman's family that twists trying to keep her alive into exploiting her. Sociopathic and unconscionable don't even come close to describing such a person. Our community would be better off with more loving families and fewer officious pricks.

dukemunson Feb 20, 2021 12:34 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

1217pm - You do understand that to give her a shot they would have had to cancel on someone 75+ that had made an appointment, right? Righteous indignation and anger is fun... and feels good!! But it’s nonsensical here. Where’s the anger for the 74 year mentioned in the independent this week who showed up in a wheelchair and oxygen tank but was turned away for being under 75. He had ID and a wheelchair!

RHS Feb 20, 2021 04:30 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

I seldom agree with Dukemunson but he is correct on this one. My spouse has diligently tried to get a place in line for a shot. My spouse has significant medical concerns and is eligible by age. We finally got a scheduled appointment last week but it was cancelled when the supply did not come in due to weather. Yet we do not just show up and expect to get care. We have to be in this together, not selfishly grabbing what we can using whatever excuse or tool we can. Hopefully we will get a call next week and a shot in proper order.

MountainMan4865 Feb 21, 2021 06:15 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

This whole thing has been a fiasco. I have neighbors and friends being called by their doctors - "Hey, we've got the vaccine - want it?" In their 50's or 60's, no underlying conditions. I have others that are will within the age and health bracket who have been struggling for a month to find an appointment. Same with the testing... Some get it at the drop of a hat, others have to travel to other counties, or pay $200 for it. Totally ridiculous all the way around.

JB86 Feb 21, 2021 12:47 AM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

So, while we are angsting about a 92-year-old, obviously a person at risk, who was denied a vaccine, we are giving the shot to 'cannabis workers' on the pretext that because some cannabis is considered 'medical,' these people are somehow medical providers that should be at the front of the line? This is the craziest thing I have seen yet in this screwed-up vaccine rollout. I'm 72, with the infamous pre-exiting conditions,' and can't even get on the list. This is nuts.

Ahchooo Feb 21, 2021 08:02 AM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

The priority designations can certainly be debated. They vary from county to county I believe. But if, in fact, all the doses were already spoken for, surely you wouldn’t want to be the one bumped because a volunteer took pity on a deserving elderly woman? Yes, she is deserving, but they had a system and needed to follow it. Now, if they had a few unassigned doses, that’s a different matter. But even so, if each volunteer made her own judgements, the system would devolve into chaos.

Shasta Guy Feb 21, 2021 08:34 AM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

I will get the vaccine as soon as I am eligible for it. As I understand it, the vaccine will not necessarily prevent you from contracting COVID, but it will greatly reduce the severity of the complications associated with the infection. I do not want to risk having reduced lung capacity for the rest of my life.

AQUAHOLIC Feb 21, 2021 03:40 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

In case you needed something to really scratch your head over.... SB County is doing a dismal job of acquiring vaccines, or it appears so, when you look through this list of counties in California. Ugh.

a-1613955577 Feb 21, 2021 04:59 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Is that really up to the County? I think not, they are working with whatever supply they are given. That said, you're right that our County's numbers are low, and it shows an incredibly poor lack of distribution planning when you have some counties who are past 75+, past 65+, and nearly through Phase 1B, but Santa Barbara is still on 75+, just barely getting into 65+! Not SB's fault, but whoever is running the distribution. If the vaccines were properly distributed, different counties would be at similar places in the rollout. Just one more disappointment in how this pandemic has been handled. Ridiculous.

LooseCannon Feb 23, 2021 05:18 PM
Public Health Department Addressed COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Cuba has produced an effective vaccine, and has already vaccinated such a significant source of its population that they are inviting "vaccine tourists," so I might just hop on a plane to Havana, because this for-profit healthcare system is completely ridiculous and inefficient.

As an uninsured individual living in California, where Gavin Newsom has turned over the vaccine distribution to Blue Shield, I'm doubtful I will ever get the vaccine here. Vamonos a Cuba.

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