Children’s COVID-19 vaccine doses still being distributed in Arkansas

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Natural State won’t have wide availability of the children’s COVID-19 vaccine for about a week, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Wednesday was the first full day children ages 5-11 could get the shot. Local health units are receiving the doses first. As of Wednesday afternoon, Washington, Benton and Sebastian County Health Units all had the vaccine available.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health said the state will have about 100,000 doses by the end of the week.

“There’s about 271,000 or 272,000 kids 5-11 [in Arkansas] so we’ll have plenty of vaccine to get anyone who wants to get vaccinated,” Dillaha said.

Dr. Dillaha said after a year and a half of the pandemic, she is excited to see this next step for immunizations.

“I’m very pleased that children in school can now be protected,” Dillaha said.

Preparing young children for getting the shot is key to calming any nerves or stress about the vaccine, said Liz Bell with Burrell Behavioral Health.

“As a parent talk to your child about going and getting a shot, this is what it involves, maybe take along something of comfort like a book for the waiting room or favorite stuffed animal to prepare them for the process,” Bell said.

Bell said having a conversation with children before getting the shot can better help children cope.

“Tell them there is a virus and there is a shot that helps us from getting less sick and mom and dad or guardian or grandparent whoever it may be, loves them and wants the best for them,” Bell said.

Dr. Dillaha said all counties will receive children’s vaccine doses and the doses will be distributed by population. Hospitals, physicians and pharmacies should be receiving doses within the next few days.

Walgreens and CVS will also start giving out vaccines for children later this week.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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