With walk-ins welcomed, CSU Bakersfield vaccination site attracts people from near and far

BAKERSFIELD, Calif, (KGET) — The mass vaccination site at California State University, Bakersfield has garnered the attention of people across California as the CSUB space continues to welcome walk-ins without an appointment for anyone 16 and older.

The site, located at the student recreational center on campus, administered shots to roughly 2,500 people Monday, including a few hundred out-of-town residents. Christopher Amador-French was all smiles Wednesday as he received his first dose.

“It was great. Super quick. They made it really easy,” Amador-French, a resident of Pasadena, said. “Everybody was so welcoming,” his wife Elena added.

While Kern residents with appointments continue to receive priority, walk-ins are welcome as long as doses are available, according to organizers. So far, doses have been available.

“The number one goal is to put as many shots peoples arms as we possibly can,” said CSU Bakersfield Vaccination Hub Operations Lead David Womack.

As people across the region found out Monday about the walk-in availability, “Bakersfield” became the top trending subject on Twitter.

Actor Wil Wheaton helped put the vaccination site on the radar. Known for roles in many movies and shows, including his portrayal of Wesley Crusher in the 1980’s TV series Star Trek, Next Generation, Wheaton shared an Instagram post which showed receiving the vaccine at CSU Bakersfield Saturday. His wife Anne, herself a renowned children’s book author, took the picture.

The couple came up to Kern after Wil came across a Redditt post indicating the space at CSUB had more vaccines than people. After he confirmed the post was legitimate, Wheaton made sure he would not jump the line. “It was important to me that the folks at the vaccination site made it clear these are doses going unused,” Wheaton said.

Once confirmed he would not cut the line and that the vaccines were unused, the couple and a few of their friends made the 90 minute drive to Bakersfield.

“We saw the sign that said walk ins welcome, and we’re like it’s really happening! It was amazing,” Wil said. “If you live in Bakersfield. What are you waiting for man?! It’s right there. For those who don’t live in Bakersfield, it’s the easiest drive in the world. And it was a sense of adventure for us. We felt like storm chasers,” he continued.

During an interview with 17’s Eytan Wallace Tuesday, the couple shared their gratitude to those who work at the site.

“I want all the volunteers to know you’ve made a difference in my life. I’m just so grateful,” said Wil.

There are still COVID-19 vaccine appointments available for this week at CSUB’s mass vaccination site and they are also accepting walk-ups. Watch full interview here.