Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged Jan. 13 on NBC News that California is sitting on over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine while the state ranks 46th in getting the vaccine into arms.
The governor’s hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, announced the same day that in the Bay Area, per Gov. Newsom’s new directive, mass vaccinations will cover anyone 65 and older. This moves us beyond the medical personnel-only tier to a much broader level to finally get the vaccination out to where it can do some good.
Despite there being pockets of vaccine available in Santa Barbara as of Jan. 14, including at Lompoc Valley Medical Center and at Sav-on Drug locations, the Santa Barbara County Health Department denies releasing it beyond the initial tier, completely in contradiction of Gov. Newsom’s directive, as repeated on the website maintained by the state for COVID instructions (covid19.ca.gov).
There are further details when you call Santa Barbara County’s 211 Hotline and ask for clarification. Although the county admits Gov. Newsom has changed the rules, the county also admits it has no flexibility to respond to his changes. The county has no scheduling process in place.
The county cannot reliably state where anyone who is eligible can be vaccinated. The county doesn’t know when its own rules will be adjusted. They don’t know how many doses to order to meet the needs of the new group. They suggested taking the issue up with the elected Board of Supervisors.
If other counties can assist with Gov. Newsom’s call for assistance in improving California’s vaccination record, one has to wonder who is sleeping at the wheel in Santa Barbara. This is one of those questions that makes for good investigative journalism.