COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Vaccine

UC Santa Barbara Student Health has been approved by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) to administer both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to the campus community. The university’s vaccination efforts are directed by the SBCPHD, according to priorities and guidelines set by the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Current Status of Vaccinations on Campus

The campus has been able to administer a limited supply of vaccines through Student Health to members of the University community who are involved in campus frontline health care and COVID-19 testing efforts and to those 65 years and older, as authorized by the allocation priorities of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Vaccine eligibility in Santa Barbara County has expanded to include the following sectors for Phase 1B: education and childcare, emergency services, food/grocery and agricultural workers. UC Santa Barbara is providing vaccines to campus employees as part of the education sector, offering them by age, starting with those age 64 and then by descending ages depending on vaccine supply. As employees become eligible, Student Health is inviting them directly to make vaccine appointments through the Student Health portal

The guidelines are subject to change, however, and will be affected by the State’s decision to appoint California Blue Shield as the sole vaccine distribution administrator. As a result of this change, it is uncertain whether future vaccines will be provided for distribution on campus. They can be scheduled through the California Department of Public Health Portal MyTurn.



In Santa Barbara County, individuals who fall within the Centers for Disease Control’s  Phase 1a and 1b Tier 1 groups are currently eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. These include people age 75 and older and those at risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of their work in direct health care. 

We are eager to vaccinate as many people as possible, and once this phase has been completed, we are approved by the SBCPHD to administer any remaining vaccines from our limited first delivery to employees ages 65 to 74. Student Health will contact via email those who are eligible during this vaccine phase to arrange appointments through the Patient Portal Gateway.

At this time, we do not have additional information about how other members of our campus community will be able to access the vaccine or if additional vaccines will be made available to campus. We are working closely with the SBCPHD to determine how and when other members of our community will receive their vaccines.

The CDC and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have provided guidance for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, based on the risk of certain populations contracting the disease. Student Health is following these vaccination recommendations. The phases are detailed below:

Phase 1a:

  • Health care workers
  • Residents in long-term care facilities

Phase 1b:

  • People age 75 years and older
  • People at risk of exposure at work in these sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture
  • People ages 65-74

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has posted the initial priorities for distribution. Please see the COVID-19 Vaccine Information section of their website for time estimates, which are updated frequently.

That depends on what vaccines are authorized and available from the SBCPHD. Initially, we expect to have either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines, and Student Health is fully equipped to administer one or the other or both.

We do not anticipate that vaccines will be mandatory, but we strongly encourage everyone to receive one so we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and resume normal operations on campus.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to members of the campus community at no cost to them.

Both vaccines use mRNA technology to stimulate an immune response to create antibodies for future protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, they have differences in their composition and storage. A more detailed explanation that can be found on The Current in a Q&A with Scott Grafton, M.D., the campus’s COVID-19 coordinator and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and Charles Samuels, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

Additional information about the individual vaccines is available on the CDC website:

The vaccines approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization have been endorsed by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and by a special group of California experts following clinical trials involving tens of thousands of patients. Monitoring of ongoing vaccine safety is continuing through the CDC, and vaccine recipients are invited to enroll after they receive their first dose to add their experiences as part of this monitoring.

Yes. There is currently not enough information to indicate whether or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again, so you should get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you have already recovered. You cannot receive the vaccine if you have an active COVID-19 infection or are completing a quarantine period after a possible exposure.

If you had COVID-19 in the past three months, you likely have some immunity already and you can wait to be vaccinated, since vaccine supplies are limited.

Yes. Most vaccines that protect people from viral illnesses also reduce transmission of the virus that causes the disease by those who are vaccinated. While we hope this will be the case with the COVID-19 vaccines, the scientific community does not yet know if they will reduce such transmission. Therefore, we must continue to follow public health guidelines, such as wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and avoiding indoor crowds. The university will continue to require face masks on campus even after employees and patients begin receiving the vaccine.

General COVID-19 questions should be directed to or (805) 893-3113 (weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

Questions related to COVID-19 vaccines should be directed to

Related Resources

Information about the COVID-19 vaccines and about the guidelines and policies directing their administration is available from numerous sources.