NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — As the state moves into the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, more Arkansans will eligible to get the shot. Phase 1-B set to begin on January 18, and pharmacies across NWA will play a key role in helping to administer the vaccine.
The ADH tells us this phase opens up vaccinations to two categories within 1B. This includes those who work in education and people 70 years old and older.
The state is getting a weekly shipment of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines but the doses are limited which is why they are prioritizing within this phase.
“We will rollout to certain groups as organized of way as we can so we can vaccinate the most vulnerable people first as well as the key jobs in Arkansas.” said State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha.
People in education, daycare, K-through 12, teachers and staff at schools, colleges and universities are all eligible for the COVID-19 shot.
School districts will coordinate efforts with ADH local health units or pharmacies in their county to schedule vaccination clinics for their staff.
She said those who are 70 years old and older are asked to call and make an appointment at a participating pharmacy.
Older residents are especially vulnerable during this health crisis. This is why they are a top priority group to get the COVID- 19 shot.
According to the ADH, over 336,000 people make up this population in Arkansas and it will take several weeks to get them vaccinated.
Dr. Dillaha said besides going through the community pharmacies, people can look for vaccine clinics and events hosted through hospitals and health care providers. Adding that it’s important everyone eligible has access to getting the covid19 shot.
“We do want it to be equitable and there are people who don’t have the kind of mobility to get up and go to the pharmacy. We do not have a current plan in place but it must be addressed”
She assures that the ADH will address this need and any other barriers people may face in getting the vaccine.
Dr. Dillaha said they hope to be able to increase the amount of shipments they receive, increase the number of pharmacies participating, and to host mass vaccination events.
Next in line, will be the third category in phase 1B, the frontline essential workers. This includes food and agricultural workers, police and firefighters who were not in phase 1-A, public transit and U.S. postal workers to name a few.
Remember for full protection, you want to make sure to get that second dose of the vaccine. The ADH recommends that you get it as close to the minimum interval set as possible which is 3 weeks for the Pfizer vaccine and 4 weeks for the Moderna vaccine. If there’s a delay there’s no need to worry. You will still get the same level of protection but the goal is to get the full immunity as soon as possible.
The department of health is asking everyone to have some patience as it will take several weeks to get this group completed.