SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - COVID-19 vaccine appointments have opened for Santa Barbara County residents over the age of 16 starting Monday.
It used to be like winning a race to get a vaccine appointment online in SB County. That is not the case anymore.
Santa Barbara County now has enough doses to meet the demand and more which is why the county is moving faster than the state and surrounding counties when it comes to lowering the age limit for vaccines.
"We are also now lowering the age floor. We have gone through all of the requirements to meet the state's requirements for vaccines. We now have so much vaccine availability we are lowering the age at only the Santa Barbara County clinics to 16 and over for the Pfizer vaccine and 18 and over for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccine," said Emergency Medical Services Agency Director Nick Clay.
Residents 16 and older may immediately begin scheduling appointments for one of the two Public Health Community Vaccination Clinics located at the Hilton Beachfront Resort in Santa Barbara and Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.
On Monday afternoon, there were still 800 appointments available at the Hilton clinic.
Residents 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines while everyone 16 and older may get the Pfizer shot. For more details, visit the public health website.
Appointments at the Santa Maria clinic begin Monday, April 5, through Sunday, April 11.
Santa Barbara vaccine appointments will be available from Tuesday, April 6, through Thursday, April 8.
For help making an appointment, you can call 211 and select option 4.
The vaccine clinics will be open to Santa Barbara County residents only. Those who do not live or work in the county will be turned away.
"We are in the home stretch, it doesn't mean we are done, we are in the home stretch," said Clay.
While vaccines are looking good, Clay said that people should continue to wear masks, wash hands and physically distance.
Health experts also want to remind people that the protective effects of the vaccines do not kick in for two weeks after the final dose.
To make an appointment and for more information, visit publichealthsbc.org/phd-vaccination-clinics.