(Santa Barbara County Public Health Department photo)

Santa Barbara County will start vaccinating residents 75 years old and older next Wednesday, but limited COVID-19 vaccine supplies mean people may not receive an immediate appointment, the Public Health Department announced Friday. 

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said earlier this week that the county was making good progress on the current priority group of healthcare workers and long-term care facilities, and expected to open it up to additional people soon. 

The state expanded eligibility to people 65 years and older at this stage, but since vaccine supplies are still limited, Santa Barbara County and others are prioritizing the 75-plus population right now. 

Healthcare providers may reach out to eligible patients, and online vaccine appointment registration for 75+ residents is available here: https://publichealthsbc.org/covid-19-vaccine-appointment-registration/

The county announced four days for appointments on Friday, and as of Saturday morning, appointments were fully booked for three of the four dates. There were still spots available for Jan. 21 in Lompoc, and more date will be added as available, according to the county. 

“If you are not currently eligible for a vaccine, please do not make an appointment. You will be turned away at the vaccine site. This takes away an appointment from someone who is eligible and slows down the process for everyone,” the county site says. 

Photo ID and proof of residency (may be photo ID) is required at the county appointments. 

Healthcare workers and others currently eligible to receive the vaccine can get more information, find providers and register for appointments here: https://publichealthsbc.org/vaccine-information-for-healthcare-professionals/

The 2-1-1 call center (call 2-1-1, extension 4) will be open Saturday and Sunday for questions, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso explains the updated priority order for COVID-19 vaccines on Friday.

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso explains the updated priority order for COVID-19 vaccines on Friday.  (Santa Barbara County Public Health Department photo)

Do-Reynoso said Friday that the 75+ population will be the next priority group, followed by people 65 years old and older, and then people at risk of exposure at work in education, childcare, emergency services, grocery/food and agricultural workers. 

Public Health released a statement explaining the decision Friday: 

In light of the state’s direction for California counties to prioritize vaccination for people 65 years of age and older, Santa Barbara County is beginning vaccination efforts for people 75 years of age and older. As soon as more vaccines become available from the state, vaccination will then begin for people ages 65 and older. 

Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, states, “We fully support the prioritization of those over the age of 65 and look forward to the receipt of additional vaccines to meet the current demand. With adequate supply and through community partnerships, we can continue to move through the vaccination tiers and continue to offer vaccinations for our priority populations.”

Medical providers who are approved to administer the vaccination will be contacting eligible patients to schedule vaccination appointments. While the county is increasing efforts to get vaccines administered, there continues to be a limited supply of the vaccine and people may not receive an immediate appointment. Medical providers will have the flexibility to begin vaccinations for people ages 80 and older based on their staffing and vaccine resources.

Vaccinations will also be made available at each of the public health community vaccination points of distribution (PODs) which are located throughout the county.

For reference, there are over 32,000 county residents 75 years of age and older. The Public Health Department vaccine distribution sites will have approximately 1,200 total vaccines available during their first four days of vaccination.

This does not include vaccine available at healthcare clinics. More appointments will become available as more vaccine arrives.

Vaccine appointment registration for those community members 75 years of age or older can be accessed by visiting

Santa Barbara County will continue to vaccinate its frontline healthcare workers in Phase 1A, tiers 1, 2 and 3.

“The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as sufficient quantities become available,” states Do-Reynoso. Until that time, Santa Barbara County Public Health and health care providers are vaccinating in order of priority based on supply.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. 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 gmagnoli@noozhawk.com.