SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has begun distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to the diabetic community in Santa Barbara at is over 65 years of age.
The clinic will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the diabetic community in Santa Barbara, specifically the Hispanic/Latino adults living with diabetes.
The clinic says the first dose was administered on January 27.
“At SDRI, we are following the science by targeting the group with one of the highest risks from COVID-19, namely Latino adults with diabetes,” said Dr. David Kerr, SDRI’s Director of Research and Innovation. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see a disproportionate number of Latino adults hospitalized because of COVID-19, and with diabetes, the risk of an extremely serious outcome from the infection is increased dramatically.”
During the pandemic, health officials have seen existing health disparities in the U.S. They say certain underserved populations have a harder time with their condition, mostly people with type 2 diabetes.
Sansum says the local Latino community is one of the most struggling communities where rates of diabetes are doubled compared to other communities. Health officials say Latino adults also tend to develop diabetes at a younger age and it is associated with "worse overall blood glucose control and a higher risk of serious complications associated with diabetes".
The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has researched and engaged with this population of people through their Mil Familias research initiative.
This initiative provides Spanish-language education on diabetes along with web resources to community members. Their research is done by trained, bilingual Latino Community Scientists, or Especialistas, who are now the key people that are helping vaccinate the Latino community against the virus.
The Institute is working with State and local health departments to expand vaccinations to other Latinos with diabetes at a younger age, those who are essential workers and also non-Latinos with diabetes.
They are hoping to vaccinate those over the age of 65 and with type 1 diabetes when the vaccine becomes available to the clinic.
Currently, the vaccinations are administered to those at highest risk due to limited supply.
The clinic's vaccination registration is currently by invitation and appointment only.
For more information on the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute vaccinations, call 805-699-1519.