SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif .– The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to the Santa Barbara diabetic community over the age of 65.
The clinic will deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the diabetics in Santa Barbara, especially the Hispanic / Latin American adults living with diabetes.
The clinic says the first dose was given on Jan. 27.
“At SDRI, we are following the science by targeting the group at one of the highest risks of COVID-19, Latino adults with diabetes,” said Dr. David Kerr, SDRI Director for Research and Innovation. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see a disproportionate number of Latino adults hospitalized for COVID-19, and with diabetes, the risk of extremely serious infection increases dramatically.”
During the pandemic, US health officials identified existing health disparities. They say that certain underserved populations have a harder time with their condition, mostly people with type 2 diabetes.
One of the hardest hit communities is the local Latino community, Sansum says, with diabetes rates doubling compared to other communities. Latino adults also have a tendency to develop diabetes at a younger age, according to health officials, and this is linked to “poor general blood sugar control and a higher risk of serious diabetes-related complications”.
The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute studied and addressed this population group as part of its Mil Familias research initiative.
This initiative offers community members Spanish classes in diabetes as well as web resources. Their research is being carried out by trained, bilingual Latino Community Scientists or Especialistas who are now the key people helping to vaccinate the Latino community against the virus.
The institute is working with state and local health departments to expand vaccinations to other Latinos with diabetes at a younger age, those who are important workers, and also non-Latinos with diabetes.
They hope to vaccinate people over 65 and with type 1 diabetes when the clinic’s vaccine is available.
Currently, the vaccinations are given to those at highest risk due to the limited availability.
The clinic’s vaccination registration is currently only done by invitation and by appointment.
For more information about vaccinations from the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, call 805-699-1519.