It’s pretty easy to find Bakersfield residents on social media who seem determined to hide their noses in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ryan Mulder, a teacher at Grimmway Academy, is obviously not one of them.
“I’m excited, excited, excited to be vaccinated. Today is red letter day,” Mulder said shortly after receiving the Pfizer vaccine at Adventist Health Bakersfield on Monday. This was the first day that teachers and Ag staff in Kern County were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This will make me safer, my family safer, and my students safer,” Mulder said. “It’s a miracle in your arm, dude. People should be lining up for the block.”
According to state guidelines, 30 percent of the current vaccine allocation is given to those involved in education, agriculture, nutrition, childcare and emergency services. The remaining 70 percent are for people aged 65 and over.
Amy Ritchie, an educator on the Grimmway Academy’s Edible Schoolyard program, said she views vaccination as a duty to her students, their families and the wider community.
“I think it protects me, but it also protects the kids and the community I work in,” said Ritchie. “I would be negligent not to do it.”
Kiyoshi Tomono, a spokesman for Adventist Health, said the vaccinations were only available by appointment.
“Otherwise it’s unmanageable,” he said.
There are so many moving parts, he said, including how much vaccine is available, how much staff is available, supplies, interior space and more, while the vaccine is stored in very cold temperatures until use.
Tomono said every major health care provider in the county is focused on plans to increase vaccination rates in the county.
“We are working on some mobile initiatives,” he said, to increase the number of vaccinations in rural areas and remote communities.
While educators and farm workers were being vaccinated, others who had already received their shots waited the required 15 minutes before leaving.
“My job is to watch over people who have just been vaccinated,” said Lupe Turner, an Adventist nurse.
After 43 years in the healthcare sector, Turner appeared far from exhausted on Monday as her excitement radiated onto her patients.
“It was a great blessing to be part of it and to be able to help people,” she said.
On Monday she was part of a team work to finally stop the corona virus.
Reporter Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @semayerTBC.