Local residents’ outlooks on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine seem to run the gamut.
During interviews from several passersby on State Street Monday afternoon, the News-Press heard everything from people completely willing to take the vaccine, to those who want to wait and see how the rollout goes, to individuals who don’t expect they’ll take it.
Carpinteria resident Shaun Lager said he will be taking the vaccine when it becomes available to the greater public. In Santa Barbara County, the first vaccines will be given to healthcare workers and first responders during the initial part of the rollout’s first phase.
During the second part of the first phase, the vaccine will be given to individuals who are at the greatest risk of getting sick from COVID-19, as well as other adults living in congregate care facilities.
Given this phased rollout, Mr. Lager told the News-Press that the full effects of the vaccine will be known when it comes time for him to take it.
“By the time it gets to the average Joe, we’ll know if there’s any major negative effects,” he said.
While he acknowledged that the COVID-19 vaccine was created at a far quicker pace than vaccines are normally developed, he trusts the competency of the people who made it.
“There’s a lot of smart people that are trying to keep it from harming us,” he said.
Santa Barbara resident Matthew Arnold said he too plans on taking the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available to him so life can return to normal as quickly as possible.
“I’d rather take it and face whatever the risks are than not take it and prolong living like this,” he remarked.
All who spoke to the News-Press on Monday said they were hopeful that the vaccine would be a light at the end of the tunnel, leading into the reopening of businesses and a return to normal life.
Santa Barbara resident Alberto Herrera runs a business that provides other businesses with signage and has found his work significantly impacted since local businesses have temporarily shut their doors. He said his signage work has been “up and down” throughout the pandemic, the latter especially when businesses were forced to shut down.
“We go down with them too,” he said.
He said he will take the vaccine because he is asthmatic.
While many are fully willing to take the vaccine, some have reticence about it. Santa Barbara resident Arnold Buckner said he doesn’t intend on taking the vaccine until he has had some time to observe what its total effects are.
“There were a couple of people that had problems with it, that had allergic reactions. So that’s something to look at, and I’m just going to watch it and see how I personally feel. I’m not sure. It’s not a definite thing,” he said.
One couple of 24-year-olds from Orange County the News-Press ran into on State Street was doubtful about whether they’d take the vaccine. The woman, who just gave her first name, Dasha, said she was unsure about taking the vaccine since side effects can be difficult to determine.
“I don’t want to be the first person taking it, that’s for sure,” she said.
The man, who just gave his first name, Zach, was more certain about not taking the vaccine, though he said he could change his mind.
“It’s not like I’m for sure not going to take it, I’m just not planning on it.”