Noozhawk readers have repeatedly asked about the vaccination status of local novel coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and COVID-19-related deaths — information that until this week has not been available.
The majority of infections, hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 have been among people who are not fully vaccinated.
People are considered fully vaccinated if they have received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Additional booster doses are available, but not required to be considered fully vaccinated for the purposes of Public Health Department tracking.
The FDA has given full approval to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the pediatric Pfizer vaccine (for 5-11-year-olds) and Johnson & Johnson vaccine are available with emergency-use authorization.
All of these vaccines have been shown in trials and real-world studies to reduce the risk of infection, severe illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 300,000 Santa Barbara County residents are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which is 66.5% of the population.
In response to a Noozhawk request, the Public Health Department reported that since May 2021, Santa Barbara County residents who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 have made up:
» 63% of cases as of Jan. 20.
» 79% of hospitalizations as of December.
» 89% of deaths.
The county has reported 610 COVID-19-related deaths as of Wednesday, more than 4,000 hospitalizations and 79,555 positive cases.
For the week ending Jan. 20, 60% of the 5,812 new cases reported were among people who are unvaccinated, Public Health reported.
Until now, Santa Barbara County has not reported the vaccination status of COVID-19-positive hospital patients or people who die of COVID-19.
Hospital workers and Public Health officials have said that most recent patients hospitalized for COVID-19 have been unvaccinated.
“We do know that with Delta (variant), the relative risk for dying from COVID with unvaccinated people is 53 times that of a vaccinated person,” Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said during a Jan. 25 briefing to the county Board of Supervisors.
“So with Omicron it’s not quite as drastic, but we do know that the people who end up in the ICU on the ventilator for weeks and eventually die are almost exclusively unvaccinated people,” he said.
The numbers are similar to neighboring counties and statewide data.
About 177,000 San Luis Obispo County residents are fully vaccinated, which is 66.6% of the population.
SLO County reports countywide COVID-19 data by age and by vaccination status.
Between June 2021 and the end of January, SLO County residents who are not fully vaccinated have made up:
» 65.4% of cases.
» 78.5% of hospitalizations.
» 74.8% of deaths.
About 600,600 Ventura County residents are fully vaccinated, which is about 68% of the population.
Ventura County Public Health also reports COVID-19-related data by vaccination status.
As of this week, the county reported that residents who are not fully vaccinated have made up:
» 80.5% of cases.
» 91.5% of hospitalizations.
» 94.4% of deaths.
The California Public Health Department reports that unvaccinated people have been more likely to get infected with the novel coronavirus than fully vaccinated people, more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.
To find more information about COVID-19 vaccines and find a provider near you, visit https://publichealthsbc.org/vaccine/ on the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department website.
Vaccines are authorized for use in everyone 5 years old and older, and pediatric vaccines for younger children could be approved in the next few months, according to public health officials.