BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As record numbers of Kern County residents catch COVID-19, incoming vaccines provide a path to wiping out the pandemic. One out of every 10 people in Kern County has caught COVID-19 since March. Now the public health department is teaming up with one of Kern’s most sacred sites, the fairgrounds, to battle the pandemic.
“Today we expect to see up to 400 of our residents who are gonna be getting vaccinated,” said Michelle Corson, the Public Information Officer for the Kern County Public Health Department.
Healthcare workers, first responders, and members of the public 65 and older are eligible for vaccines. Some say a jab in the arm is a small price to pay for immunization.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a year,” said Patricia Beard, a Kern County resident who received a shot today. “We have eight great grandchildren, three are infants. Now we don’t have to be worried about when we visit them.”
A Pew Research Center study says more than half of Americans want a coronavirus vaccine. Experts say that number is growing as more residents watch others take their shots.
“A friend of mine encouraged me to take the shot,” said Richard Nicholson, who received a vaccine today. “He took his shot and told me he feels fine, so I took him up on his offer and decided to come in.”
Corson says there are no more appointments for this week’s soft launch, but the county plans to reach more residents in the coming weeks.
“We have the ultimate goal of expanding soon, upwards of 5,000 per day,” Corson said.
The public health department says it will tell the public how to sign up for vaccines at the fairgrounds by the end of the week. In the meantime, Kern Public Health’s website has an interactive map of other vaccine providers. If you’re eligible, find the site closest to you and call that site to make an appointment.