SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Over a third of Santa Barbara County residents over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
As more doses are available than ever before, county officials have their eye on the young adult population — ages 16-29 — who have been reluctant to show up for shots.
“Unfortunately only 40% have received at least one dose of the vaccine,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said.
Since they are the smallest populations vaccinated in the county, more and more of them are coming down with COVID-19.
Several outbreaks have recently occurred at high schools.
“Most of them were related to student athletes,” public health officer Henning Ansorg said. “Some cases also came from unsanctioned parties and social events.”
California aims to fully reopen on June 15th.
Until then, Santa Barbara County is still stuck in the orange tier.
With new coronavirus cases reaching a plateau, health experts are concerned that the county may never enter into the least restrictive yellow tier.
“I’m just not sure if we will get there,” Do-Reynoso said. “We need to double down and get our vaccination rates up.”
To combat vaccine hesitancy, efforts have been expanded with mobile clinics countywide.
“It is critically important for you to make your vaccine appointments as soon as possible,” Do-Reynoso said.
“Having students vaccinated will greatly improve their safety,” Ansorg concluded. “It will also help the entire community get closer to a state of herd immunity.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for young adults age 12 and older next week.