SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is continuing to provide updates on the county's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg stopped by NewsChannel 3 Midday for the health department's continuing discussion series with Joe Buttitta.
Ansorg discussed the need for COVID-19 booster shots and who should prioritize getting one.
"This is really fresh as of Friday. Who should get one? Everybody over 65, any nursing home residents or long-term care facility resident, anybody over age 50 with certain underlying health conditions - like diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer or pregnant women," Ansorg said. "There are certain health conditions where, if someone were to get COVID, they would have very serious disease and those people should get the booster shot."
Ansorg stressed that the boosters were only approved for those who initially received the Pfizer vaccine.
In addition to the continuing effort to get people vaccinated against COVID-19, the county's public health officer said people should also consider getting a yearly flu vaccine but said he hopes the continued wearing of face coverings and social distancing will also help in having a lighter flu season like the previous year.
As the deadline approaches for students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Ansorg said it is likely more students will be eligible for vaccines later this year.
Ansorg said the majority of people are very grateful to receive the vaccines, but stressed that the most vocal opponents to vaccines are in the minority. He also said there is still a rash of misinformation and it's important people find legitimate sources.
California's state vaccine mandate for hospital workers goes into effect on Thursday. Ansorg said he was just not sure on the possibility of workers being let go for refusing to get vaccinated, but said 90% of all health care workers in Santa Barbara County have gotten a vaccine.
"If we were to lose 10% [of health care workers] that would really be a stretch, but hopefully some of the 10% would get convinced and get vaccinated that it won't have such an impact on the health care," Ansorg said.