Public health officials unsure when current tier will be fully vaccinated

The+Goleta+Valley+Community+Center+on+Feb.+7%2C+2021%2C+in+Goleta%2C+Calif.+The+community+center+is+a+free+COVID-19+testing+site+offered+through+the+Santa+Barbara+County+Public+Health+Department.

Ryan P. Cruz

The Goleta Valley Community Center on Feb. 7, 2021, in Goleta, Calif. The community center is a free COVID-19 testing site offered through the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Ryan P. Cruz, Editor-In-Chief

City College employees are next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but when exactly the distribution begins depends on when the current priority group can get fully vaccinated.

Currently, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is working through a three-phase rollout for the vaccine in order of priority.

“Because of the limited number of vaccines right now, we are continuing to prioritize frontline healthcare workers and persons aged 75 and older,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. 

Each week the state health department determines the number of vaccines that will be allocated to each county, and the movement from one tier to the next depends on how many vaccines are available.

The next target populations are people aged 75 and over, and “those at risk of exposure at work” in education, childcare, emergency services, food/grocery and agricultural workers.

“We do not have a date when this will happen,” Do-Reynoso said. “But we will widely announce when the time comes.”

Screen grab of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department website, showing next target population in the three-phase, tiered system of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. City College employees are are among the next groups expected to receive vaccinations when they are available.
Screen grab of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department website, showing next target population in the three-phase, tiered system of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. City College employees are are among the next groups expected to receive vaccinations when they are available.

During a Feb. 5 press conference, Suzanne Grimmesey, chief quality care officer for Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness, said the rate of distribution depends on the county.

“Each county’s movement may look somewhat different from each other,” Grimmesey said. “There are a number of different reasons for this which include supply, the number of people in each phase, their age, occupation and the number of people who have accepted or declined the vaccine.”

Last week, Santa Barbara county received about 5,500 doses. There are an estimated 36,000 residents aged 75 and older and over 25,000 healthcare workers, according to public health officials. If every person eligible receives a vaccine, the county would need around 120,000 doses to move on to the next group.

Still, officials are optimistic about a quick rollout, compared to other counties in the state.

“Santa Barbara county has administered the vaccine at a higher per-capita rate than other counties,” Grimmesey said. “We look forward to moving to the next phase as quickly as possible.”

City College employees will be notified as soon as there are vaccines available to them, as well as any information on how to sign up for appointments. The county will provide updates through its weekly COVID-19 press conferences here.