Phones no longer ringing off the hook at local pharmacies

Ashleigh Velasco, Rosemene Lordeus

FILE – In this April 10, 2021, file photo, registered nurse Ashleigh Velasco, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Rosemene Lordeus, right, at a clinic held by Healthcare Network in Immokalee, Fla. With coronavirus shots now in the arms of nearly half of American adults, the parts of the U.S. that are excelling and those that are struggling with vaccinations are starting to look like the nation’s political map: deeply divided between red and blue states. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Throughout the vaccination process, Arkansas has overcome a number of hurdles. The issue pharmacists are noticing now is the turnout itself.  

Julie Stewart with Medical Arts Pharmacy in Fayetteville tells us for the first time since they started doing COVID-19 vaccinations, the phone has not been ringing off the hook.

“There are a lot of factors that go into it,” says Stewart.

Stewart says additional vaccination locations could have a hand to play in fewer people reaching out, but it doesn’t end there. 

“I think we have reached the capacity of people who are really anxious to get it, and now we are working with people who are maybe a lot more vaccine-hesitant,” says Stewart.

We’ve also had viewers reach out and say they believe the problem is vaccination clinics scheduling inconvenient hours while many are at work. This is a problem Ryan Cork with the Northwest Arkansas Council says he recognizes. 

“We have looked at the data of when we have a fully open schedule where are the first 100 people registering within that schedule, everyone wants to come before or after work,” says Cork.

A need tough to meet on their end because they’re 100% volunteer-based and need to work with the volunteers’ availability. However, solutions are in the works.

“By having next Friday from 8:00 to 1:00, it will allow us next Thursday to have the extra volunteer hours and we can go until 8:00 in the evening. Because we agree with you there is not enough availability around my schedule,” says Cork.

Cork adds, coming in May, the Northwest Arkansas Council is also planning on having vaccination clinics on Saturdays from 8:00 to 12:00. So for all of you with busy schedules that will be something to look forward to as well.

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