Kern Public Health lays out plan for vaccination drive-thru at the Fairgrounds; begins construction


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield is now under construction as Kern Public Health is making modifications to transform it into a mass vaccination drive-thru site.

Many people in Kern are looking for more information on the vaccine rollout. Kern County Public Health says their call centers have received an average of more than 1,000 calls a day.

“Yesterday 1,937 calls were received in our call center,” said Brynn Carrigan, Director of Kern Public Health. “Resulting in the highest number of calls in a single day we have ever handled.”

This increase in the number of callers came around the same time the county began rolling out its first mass vaccination clinic. The clinic is set for the Fairgrounds on P Street in Bakersfield.

“We kindly ask for patience as we adapt to this new demand,” Carrigan said. “We have a meeting with the state on Wednesday to review a system deployed locally to allow for online registration and appointments to alleviate some of the demand on the system.”

County officials already began vaccinating hundreds at the Fairgrounds last week. They plan to develop the area in the coming weeks to accomadate more people.

“We’re quickly as possible building this out so when more vaccine is allocated to kern county we will be ready,” said Tom Beckett, the tech services manager with Kern Public Health. “We will be ready to grow at whatever the pace is that vaccine increases to us.”

Public health outlined four phases of this mass vaccination. We’re currently in phase one – with the goal of vaccinating 500 people each day the fairgrounds are open. Once we move forward in the phases- the Fairgrounds’ clinic will increase the number of daily vaccinations and hours of operation. Eventually they’ll have a vaccination drive-thru with 14 lanes, but it’s uncertain when this will happen.

“These phases are controlled by the availability of vaccine from the state to Kern County,” Beckett said.

There are no appointments available for vaccinations at the Fairgrounds this week. If you’re eligible for a vaccination, you can call next week to schedule an appointment. The new number to call is 868-0165.

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