Troy Aidan Sambajon
National Beat Reporter
As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) partnered with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) to increase accessibility of vaccines for those living in Isla Vista (I.V.) and working on campus.
On May 17, UCSB announced that a Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held at the Student Health (SHS) building. The weekly clinic will be open to all faculty, staff, and students age 18 and older from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 20, May 27, and June 3 — it will conclude on June 10.
Vaccinations are free of charge and insurance is not required. Students can schedule an appointment through the SHS Patient Portal and must provide a government-issued photo ID at check-in.
The Bottom Line spoke to Dr. Vejas Skripkus, Executive Director of Student Health, about the vaccination clinic and UCSB’s partnership with the SBCPHD. “Every vaccine that we administer is one step closer to fully opening our campus,” said Skripkus. According to KCSB-FM radio, out of all of the students registered for spring quarter, approximately 64 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of May 24.
“As more people get vaccinated and the case rates for COVID-19 decrease, the county will be able to move down in tier levels, and that will allow the campus to begin hosting outdoor celebrations,” continued Dr. Skripkus.
In accordance with the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Outdoor Events, all attendees should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before leaving home for an event. For the entire duration of the event, attendees must wear masks and maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from other attendees. If Santa Barbara County qualifies for the Yellow Tier this upcoming week, capacity for outdoor gatherings would double from 100 to 200 attendees — 400 if all guests are tested or show proof of vaccination ahead of time.
Dr. Skripkus graciously thanked the partnership between UCSB and the SBCPHD for providing this vaccination clinic for students and faculty. “It has been great to work with the SBCPHD. They sent their mobile vaccine clinic to our facility on May 6 and will return on June 3 for the second Moderna vaccine dose. I am hopeful that we will continue to be able to partner with the SBCPHD through the summer and into the fall,” Skripkus said.
Thanks to the SBCPHD, other vaccination clinics are popping up at farmers’ markets, open-air markets, and grocery store parking lots. In an interview with KCSB-FM, SBCPHD officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said, “This is the light at the end of the tunnel that we have all been waiting for.”
UCSB will continue to partner with the SBCPHD to receive vaccines and will plan more vaccine clinics in the future. Dr. Skripkus says social distancing and mask guidelines will also change as more individuals get vaccinated. The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is a one-dose vaccine that has emergency use authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA have recommended use of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States after a temporary pause. Please click here to visit the CDC website regarding the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.