Breaking down Arkansas COVID-19 vaccination delays

KNWA

State health care leaders say vaccinations are expected to pick up this week as more local pharmacies get their shipments.

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — According to the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas has received another 10,000 COVID-19 vaccines but has only administered a little less than 3,000.

ADH WEBSITE

I think it’s going to rapidly get quicker.

JOHN VINSON, CEO, ARKANSAS PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION CEO

Arkansas has only used a little less than 30-percent of the vaccines its been given.

Arkansas Pharmacists Association CEO John Vinson told KNWA/FOX 24 this is due to three factors — a lag in data reporting, scheduling and spreading out vaccinations, as well as not knowing which day the vaccine is going to arrive.

“You don’t want a super spreader event because of how contagious the virus is, and we’re being told to stagger the doses in case there are side effects,” he said. “It can slow down in the real world how quickly vaccines are administered.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson said there’s also another issue — limited supply.

It makes it more complex because then you have to prioritize which is difficult and then you also have to work on that distribution with a product that has to have special treatment.

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON, ARKANSAS (R)

On January 5, KNWA/FOX 24 asked both the governor’s office and the Arkansas Department of Health for clarification on what “limited supply” means.

The ADH said, “That is the rate-limiting factor. We get a certain allocation each week. We will continue to receive additional supply, but it will take time before we have enough for everyone who wishes to be vaccinated.”

KNWA/FOX 24 then asked for further clarification: How is there a “lack of supply” if the state has used only 30% of its given vaccines? — but we haven’t heard back yet.

Regardless, Vinson said he thinks all of the issues should get better with Phase 1B.

He said this is mainly because the vaccines are in multi-dose vials — with only a 6-hour window to be used in before they go to waste, so he said when there are more people to vaccinate in a priority group, it’ll be better.

“Right now it’s more complicated to schedule and ensure that you’re staying in the right group, and not [wasting] any doses,” he said. “When you have more patients, it’s easier to schedule them and fill up those spots and be more efficient with those doses that you have available.”

Governor Hutchinson said the goal is to have everyone in Phase 1A vaccinated by the end of January, but Vinson said he hopes that happens sooner.

Stay with KNWA/FOX 24 as we continue to cover where Arkansas is at with COVID-19 vaccinations.

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