NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — In a push to get more Arkansans vaccinated across the region. One local organization is changing its approach.
The NWA council started out by doing mass vaccination and drive-through clinics earlier this year but as attendance dropped they moved to host clinics on a smaller scale, at events like the Bentonville farmers market here on the square.
NWA Council, Health Care Transformation Division, Exec. Director, Ryan Cork says they launched its mass vaccination clinics back in February and for months they administered about 5-thousand vaccines a week.
Those numbers started dwindling down by June.
Through a survey, NWA Council found that one of the reasons some people were not coming to the clinics was because they didn’t see them in general spaces.
In response, the council is now partnering with housing communities, local businesses and events to host these pop clinics making it more convenient to get the COVID -19 shot.
“Being able to have a booth as you walk in when you go to see your favorite concert, we’re there it’s the same pathway that you use to get to your seats. You walk right past us, why not get a shot. Just really trying to be embedded in the community at the grassroots level and then some,” said Cork.
Cork says all of the clinics are still staffed by volunteers, mostly retired nurses and off-duty paramedics.
He says although staffing has its challenges as the vaccination rates increase he hopes it will decrease the workload in the future.
He adds that there are benefits to the smaller clinics like they need less staff daily and working with a smaller physical footprint. Where they would need 50 to 70 people and need a location for mass clinics they can do a pop-up with less than 10 people.
“As an example, the Frisco festival will have its own set of security and traffic and logistic and law enforcement that is there that we don’t have to provide we truly only have to provide the vaccinations,” said Cork.
Next, NWA Council is working with XNA on plans to host a clinic at the airport. They expect to have a trial run within the next few weeks