Vaccine eligibility expands, doesn’t assure full return to SBCC campus

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Desiree Erdmann

The drive-through vaccine clinic at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital has multiple immunization tents, including a walk-up tent for locals and UCSB students that don’t have a car on April 16 at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital in Goleta, Calif. 

Dylan Grausz, Staff Writer

On April 15, California expanded eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone age 16 and up, but that doesn’t guarantee when City College’s campus will open.

Luz Reyes-Martín, executive director of public affairs and communications, said returning to campus doesn’t rely on a certain percentage of employees or students getting the vaccine. 

“Because vaccinations are part of FDA emergency authorization, CC is not able to require vaccinations,” Reyes-Martín said. “Therefore, vaccines are not required for employees or students, so there is no tracking of data or percentages.”

However, on April 14 she sent out a campus-wide email with a survey to measure the percentage of employees who have been vaccinated, as requested by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

“Please note that vaccination is not required and this is an optional survey to provide general information to public health,” she wrote in the email.

Approximately 15.9 million people in California have received at least one dose of their vaccination. With Santa Barbara County making up about 274,000.

Although California just opened eligibility to people older than 16, Santa Barbara County was ahead of the game.

On April 5, Reyes-Martín sent out a campus-wide email informing all that this age group was already eligible in Santa Barbara. This tier is the final group to become eligible since the vaccine first arrived in California in December and was prioritized for healthcare workers.

Minors, age 16 and 17, must be accompanied by an adult and can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Although each of the vaccinations—Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—were available throughout the county, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been temporarily discontinued due to complications with blood clotting.

“California is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction from health and safety experts,” according to the public health department website.

Residents are able to sign up for a vaccination appointment online or over the phone.

Different clinics can be found on the county public health website, and appointments can be made using the My Turn link.

Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital has a drive-up feature for those with appointments, and even a “walk-up” feature for those without a car. The hospital received 10,000 doses for the week of April 13 through April 17, according to a Cottage Health press release. 

Only the Pfizer vaccine is available at this location, and each clinic typically administers only one vaccine or the other—it depends on what they are supplied with at the time.

Local pharmacies and locations, like Ralphs, CVS and Rite Aid, also get a separate allocation of vaccines for people who are unable to make an appointment at a regular clinic.

Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami said the county is able to keep up with appointments, even though it doesn’t have as many vaccines as other places.

“Even with the many thousands of appointments being made available every week, thresholds are being met currently,” he said. “However, compared to other places, there is more of a shortage of vaccines here.”

News Editor Jacob Frank contributed to this article.