SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. -- More residents in San Luis Obispo County are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department announced Wednesday that any county residents over the age of 16 can receive a vaccine, effective immediately.
The news comes just days after Santa Barbara County announced it was opening vaccine eligibility to those 16 and up earlier this week.
According to San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, the increased eligibility adds 54,000 county residents to the existing registry.
“This is a milestone we have been looking to for the past year and I encourage everyone in our community – including those who have been eligible for some time – to take this opportunity, get the vaccine, and help put this pandemic behind us,” said Borenstein.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge at SLO County Public Health Department operated vaccination clinics.
The Public Health Department says it has enough vaccine supply to administer about 9,000 first doses next week at one of three mass vaccination clinics, located in San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles.
Residents under the age of 18 will be required to receive the Pfizer vaccine due to FDA regulations. People under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get vaccinated at county clinics.
SLO County Public Health officials said the county will continue to prioritize those at higher risk for COVID-19 complications based on age and health conditions.
"We will continue, even with this larger opening, we will continue to prioritize on the basis of age and medical condition," said Borenstein. "Anyone who newly registers of an older age, or who has medical conditions of concern, or a disability, will have first preference at having their appointments made."
Public Health also pointed out that some pharmacies, such as CVS and Rite Aid, that receive their vaccine allocation from the federal government, rather than from the County, might not offer vaccines to this newly eligible group right away.
The County advises the public to contact their local pharmacy personally to ask about any vaccine administration fees they may charge and to see they are are eligible under the guidelines they are following.
For assistance signing up for SLO County’s appointment registry, call the Phone Assistance Center at 805-543-2444 or 805-781-4280.
For more questions about COVID-19 vaccine in SLO County, click here.