BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As Kern County is set to move out of the purple tier starting Wednesday, the push to get more people vaccinated continues. Health officials stated Tuesday morning that more than 230,000 vaccines have been given in Kern County but more work needs to be done.
As of Monday, the county has received 227,765 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines including 11,760 doses which expected to arrive by Tuesday, but still, local public health officials are saying vaccine distribution remains low compared to previous weeks
“The only thing we can equate it to is that Johnson and Johnson has not been allocated for the past two weeks and that accounted for 8,500 doses that week we saw the largest amount of vaccines allocated to Kern,” said Brynn Carrigan with Kern County Public Health.
Brynn Carrigan with the public health department is referring to the week of March 8, when the county’s vaccine distribution reached its highest point with 30,270, but last week that distribution dropped to nearly 24,000, with no doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
However, this week, things have started to pick back up with an additional 1,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson given directly to a vaccine clinic at Bakersfield college that was held over the weekend.
More vaccine numbers were also in a board of supervisors meeting held Tuesday morning.
Public health officials report over 75,000 people have completed their vaccination series, which is 8.2% of the population. Just under 100,000 doses have been administered to the 65 and older population, with more than 40,000 of them now fully vaccinated, which makes 37% of that population. Carrigan says at this rate, it'll take much longer for specific populations to get vaccinated.
“It’ll take an additional 8 weeks to completely vaccinate our 65 and older population at the 70% allotment currently required by the state. It'll take 45 weeks to get the rest of our 16 and older population fully vaccinated. If the vaccine gets approved for those 16 years of age it'll take 68 weeks to get our entire population vaccinated.”
As of Tuesday, the public health department is reporting that those who are currently eligible for vaccinations include, healthcare workers, those in long-term care facilities, people who work in emergency services or food and agriculture. Those 65 and older, or those with severe health conditions between the ages of 16 and 64.
Supervisor David Couch has heard otherwise, “I'm hearing that lots of people that go in for a regular check-up that are not 65 and have no underlying health conditions are just asked. 'Do you want the vaccine? are just given it.' “
However, Carrigan says she has not heard of this, and for those who are eligible, an event this weekend is looking to boost those numbers.
This weekend we will launch vaccination booths throughout Kern County. These booths will be located in areas frequented by county residents. Bilingual nurses will staff these booths and can answer vaccine-related questions and hope to dispel any vaccine-related myths."