BC gives 1,300 free flu shots

Maryann Kopp

As a means to help prepare the Public Health Department and the Bakersfield College nursing students faculty and volunteers for a situation where mass vaccinations would be necessary, BC gave free flu shots via drive-through on a first-come, first-serve basis on Oct. 24.
Even being equipped with 800 vaccinations, the response from the public was much more than anticipated.
Due to people arriving as early as 10 a.m., participants had to start administering vaccinations at 12:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than planned. By 1:30 p.m., all 800 vaccinations had been given.
“We had to call for an additional 500 vaccinations,” said Amber Chiang, who served as the Public Information Officer at the event. All press and media were directed to Chiang for all information. “The county was able to help us get those by taking them from state-issued vaccinations.”
This was the first year that BC held what was to be handled as a “full-scale drill,” and traffic was backed up and down Mt. Vernon and University avenues.
The Bakersfield Police Department had to turn the intersection lights to “flashing red” due to the traffic 25 minutes into the drill. The BPD helped to direct traffic.
There were 150 volunteers present, 90 of whom were BC students. Originally, they were prepared to have five lanes open. They had seven open by mid-drill.
The drive-through was sectioned off into different areas, starting with forms and questionnaires that were provided to participants and ending with an observation area, where people who were getting the vaccination for the first time were watched for 20 minutes to ensure that they didn’t have any allergic reactions.
Hall Ambulance was present for “basic life support,” according to Chiang.
The Bakersfield Fire Department was there to assist in anything that may be “beyond life support.”
Myriad organizations were present to help with the event, including Homeland Security, Cal State University, Bakersfield, Kern Medical Reserve Corps and the County of Kern.
Pepsi donated water for the volunteers, and the BC Foundation provided them with snacks.
William Hadrian, whose son is a BC student, received a vaccination. “It’s been fast,” he said. “I’m going to Mexico for six or seven years, so I decided to get this done before I go.”
Conrad Nieto, a BC psychology major, said that even though someone cut him off in line, he had a “very good experience.”
Prior to the event, Nieto had announced the event in a class of his and was upset that fellow students scoffed at the idea of a drive-through vaccination clinic. “They didn’t trust BC – it’s our school!”
Nieto’s sister, Tanya Nieto, joined him in getting the flu vaccine.
“It was very well organized,” she said. “The people were hospitable, and I am thankful for it because it’s like a provision from God. We didn’t have to wait long; it was only about 30-40 minutes, but it was well worth the wait considering the health risks.”