The goal was to vaccinate 300 patients in Taft on Friday, with no fuss, no muss — and without making them wait or inconveniencing anyone.

People came from Frazier Park, Pine Mountain Club, Bakersfield and even from as far away as Atascadero to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations at no cost.

By all appearances, the mostly over-65 patients moved steadily through the process without problems. Pine Mountain Club residents Dave and Lynn Howard called it "a blessing."

"I didn't feel a thing," Dave Howard, 70, said after the shot was administered.

"I didn't feel a thing, either," echoed his wife, Lynn Howard.

"The person who gave me the shot was really good," Dave Howard added. "This is amazing. After seeing long lines of cars on the news and long waits, this is a blessing."

The West Side Health Care District through its West Side Family Health Care Clinic held the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic at the West Side Recreation and Parks District facility in Taft.

Clinic organizers began at 9 a.m. and expected to provide 300 vaccinations, all by appointment, at no charge to patients, said Ryan Shultz, the district's director of clinical operations.

The district's West Side Family Health Care Clinic at 100 E. N. St. in Taft has routinely been scheduling vaccinations at the clinic.

"So far, we've provided 460 vaccines to the public," Shultz said.

After Friday the number was expected to be closer to 760.

"We are really exited and eager to provide this service to west-side and Kern County residents," said Executive Director Gerald Starr. "Our entire staff has taken on the challenge of providing this potential life-saving vaccine to as many patients as we can."

Taft has no hospital, so the number of health care workers in the area is modest. And most of them have already been vaccinated, Shultz said.

That meant Friday's vaccination clinic was mostly focused on eligible patients 65 and older.

The West Side Recreation and Parks District, the Taft Kiwanis Club, and the city of Taft all pitched in to help, Starr said.

"Everyone stepped up to say, 'We're going to do this,'" he said.

All patients received the Moderna vaccine, and the goal was to not waste a dose.

According to Shultz, once you puncture a 10-dose vial, you have six hours to use it. When they began getting a few appointment cancellations, it meant they would be on the phones calling people on the waiting list to come in.

Jan Ashley, who serves on the health care district's governing board, was there helping Friday as a volunteer.

She's eligible for the vaccine, but acknowledged she hasn't gotten it yet.

"I know I'm going to do it," she said. "But I've been dragging my feet."

A few people showed up without appointments. They were told they would have to be placed on a waiting list.

Retired teacher John Caulfield, 63, was one of those hoping he might be eligible. But his age group is not yet included in the state's schedule.

Vaccinations are prioritized according to age and risk. A portion of California's population can get vaccinated now, and the rest is expected to have access by spring.

With an estimated 22,000 people in the West Side Health Care District's service area, there's a lot of residents who will need vaccinations over the next several months.

And the district is already planning future mass clinics to build on the success of Friday's event.

"We will probably do this again," Shultz said. "Taft has a large senior population. They're very appreciative."

To be added to the district's vaccine waitlist, visit or call 765-1935.

All vaccines are scheduled by appointment only. Appointments are subject to available supply and waitlist volume.

Reporter Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.