GOLETA, Calif. - The drive-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic across from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital saw a steady flow of cars Thursday on what could be the clinic's best day for vaccinations so far.
“On the books, we have over 2,300 appointments, which means this could also be our busiest, most vaccinated day,” said Angeli Mancuso, Cottage Health’s director of community vaccine clinics.
Thursday is already the clinic's longest day of giving out shots, starting at 8:30 a.m. with extended hours until 7 p.m. to make the vaccine more available for those busy with work or school.
Wednesday's CDC approval paved the way for 12 to 15-year-olds to get the Pfizer vaccine, which is the vaccine being offered at the Goleta clinic. A few hundred appointments for that new age group on Thursday were quickly booked up at the Cottage Health site, but walk-ins are also welcome.
"The energy here on the lot today is really exciting and high-energy level," Mancuso said. "I think people have been waiting for this opportunity."
Richard Rockenbach celebrated his 14th birthday and his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday.
“It hurt a lot less than I expected it to, even though I really didn’t expect it to hurt that much,” he said afterward.
Richard's father, Rock, says his children getting vaccinating makes him less nervous about exposure to COVID in some settings.
“A little bit easier for them to travel, a little less anxiety about the school stuff,” he said. “A lot less anxiety about putting them on an airplane.”
“I’m happy that I got it,” 13-year-old Isela Marin said Thursday. “I get to socialize with more family now.”
“I just wanted to make sure that we could come here and get her vaccinated,” said Isela’s father Anibal Figueroa, who is now waiting until he can vaccinate his 11-year-old son. “It’s very important to keep everybody as safe as possible. And the vaccines help.”
Mancuso is happy to see the boost in vaccine demand.
“I think more shots in arms definitely helps to end the pandemic, whether they are 12-year-olds or 65-year-olds,” she said. “I think that the more vaccinations we can get out there, the better.”