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KCBX News Update: Second booster doses available in SLO County and 2019 Conception dive boat fire prompts maritime reform

The vessel was identified as the Conception, based out of Santa Barbara Harbor, and was on a three-day dive trip to the Channel Islands.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department
Ventura County Fire Department via AP
The vessel was identified as the Conception, based out of Santa Barbara Harbor, and was on a three-day dive trip to the Channel Islands.

Second booster doses now available free for seniors

Second booster doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are now available for free at Public Health Clinics in Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo for people 50 and older and those who are immune compromised.

CDC data shows two vaccine doses plus a booster provide strong protection against severe illness and death. A second booster can strengthen that protection for those who are most at risk.

All vaccine doses are available for free at Public Health clinics. Appointments are strongly recommended and will be scheduled as capacity allows across all clinics.

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a Public Health clinic, call 805-781-5500. You can also visit slopublichealth.org/vaccine for more information and to find other vaccine providers near you.

House passes maritime liability reforms inspired by Conception boat fire

Two and a half years after the deadly Conception boat fire that happened off the coast of Santa Barbara, Central Coast congressman Salud Carbajal joined the House in approving maritime liability reforms.

“This provision was developed in response to the Conception dive boat fire in my district in 2019, which was the largest loss of life in a U.S. maritime marine casualty in decades,” Rep. Carbajal said.

The measure passed this week would require owners of small passenger vessels to be held legally responsible for damages in future boating accidents and incidents, regardless of the value of the boat.

This was lacking in previous legislation, meaning the families of the 34 people killed in the 2019 Conception boat fire were not able to seek damages from the boat owner in the aftermath of the accident.

The legislation also includes provisions to promote gender and ethnic diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard and better protect those in the maritime transportation industry from sexual assault and harassment.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.