Public Health Department personnel vacciante residents at Union Plaza senior housing in Santa Maria on March 5.
Public Health Department personnel vaccinate residents at Union Plaza senior housing in Santa Maria on March 5. The new mobile clinic program will send vaccine providers to community sites by request, according to the county.  (Derek Martino / Santa Barbara County Public Health Department photo)

Mobile clinics will increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department, which is launching five of them to serve community groups and individuals who are unable to come to regular community sites.

So far, the Public Health-run vaccination efforts have been focused at three locations — in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara — and most of the other providers are also clustered in these areas of the county.

Most appointments have to be made on the internet, or through the county 2-1-1 call center during business hours.

Workplaces, churches, community groups and others can request Public Health personnel to come vaccinate 50-250 people — they just need to provide the space to hold the clinic, tables and chairs, and the eligible people, according to the county.

The county has already held several vaccinations clinics specifically for farm workers and at senior housing developments that weren’t included in the federal vaccination program for skilled nursing and other other long-term care facilities. 

By partnering with community organizations for scheduling and outreach, the Public Health Department was able to vaccinate 500 farm workers in late February

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said the five mobile teams include three in Santa Maria, one in Lompoc and one in Santa Barbara, each with about eight bilingual staff members. 

These teams will build on the success of the department’s Friday outreach clinics, held by the medical operations team, which has been going into the community to vaccinate seniors, homebound individuals, and unsheltered individuals, she said. 

Far more South County residents have been fully vaccinated compared to North County and Mid-County residents, an ongoing trend in the local vaccination effort, and Public Health hopes the mobile clinics will help close that gap as well. 

“We are really hoping that these mobile teams will remove the last barrier to access and we really want to encourage any community partner wishing to vaccinate their staff, vaccinate their clients, reach out to us,” Do-Reynoso told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning.

“And we’re actually not waiting for people to reach out to us, we’ve been knocking on doors and really encouraging people to be our partner in those mobile clinics, and hopefully with the increase in the availability of appointments and mobile clinics at convenient times and places we will be addressing that gap.”

The mobile clinics will be available to hold clinics Thursdays through Sundays,  from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., said Jackie Ruiz, a public health spokeswoman.

The county expects these clinics to be used by senior housing facilities, agricultural businesses, licensed care facilities, senior day centers, low-income housing facilities, shelter facilities, workplaces, faith-based organizations, and community-based organizations.

How to Request a Mobile Vaccination Clinic from Public Health

The county requirements for the organization requesting a mobile vaccination clinic include:

» Providing a space to hold the clinic (inside or outside)

» Providing tents, tables, chairs, and water for the observation area

» Being able to secure at least 80 and up to 250 vaccination appointments for the day of the clinic

» Filling out consent forms and assigning appointment times to eligible people being vaccinated

The county plans to use the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for these clinics, which can be used for people 18 and older.

Contact the county with questions by emailing or calling 2-1-1 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to talk to someone at the call center. You can also visit the website at

Fill out and submit a request form on the Public Health website here:

Ruiz said department staff members will visit the proposed sites before the clinics and determine the best spot to set up.

“This can be done inside, outside, or a combination of both,” she said in an email. “A large gymnasium space works well.”

These clinics are by-appointment, and are usually only able to accommodate a small number of walk-ins, she noted.

Smaller groups and sites that want to be included but do not think they have the space or enough eligible people to be vaccinated should contact the county anyway, since they may be able to combine efforts with other small organizations, according to Public Health.

When asked about resources for groups that may not have the required tables and chairs, Ruiz said the county cannot provide them and groups are encouraged to find partners who can help.

“In order for our clinics to do so many events in such a short time frame, we really need the help of organizations to have these items on site,” she said in an email.

“Partnership has been critical for organizations that do not have these resources. For example, a small farm in Carpinteria got together and asked Girls Inc. if they could be the host facility.”

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at