Local COVID-19 unit at capacity, doctor shares vaccine frustrations


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – It was around this time last year Mercy Hospital first opened an additional COVID-19 unit, and here we are in a third wave which pulmonary and critical care specialist for Mercy Hospital Dr. Jason McKinney says could be even more dangerous than the last. 

We asked Dr. McKinney what he would tell Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who’s trying to distribute vaccines in one of the most hesitant states. 

“I would tell him that language that is political in nature doesn’t work, and I would tell him the way that they’re communicating with the public doesn’t work,” said Dr. McKinney.  

What he finds most frustrating is the politicization of a potentially life-saving vaccine.  

“At this point, people have politicized this so much that I don’t know that they can undo what they have done,” said Dr. McKinney.  

We reached out to the Governor’s office for a statement on the criticism. It said, “anyone that says Governor Hutchinson is doing a terrible job making the vaccine a non-political issue has not attended the Community Covid conversations.  Governor Hutchinson is traveling around the state addressing vaccine fears, debunking myths, and encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.  At every community conversation, the number of attendees that decide to get a vaccination on the spot increases.  In every interview, at every Community Covid conversation, at every Covid-19 press briefing, Governor Hutchinson stresses getting a vaccine is not a political issue. We all have to fight Covid-19 together and get vaccinated.”

However, Dr. McKinney questions the Governor’s methods and their effectiveness. 

“I think the public does a lot better with complete transparency and without politicians trying to make themselves look good,” said Dr. McKinney.  

Dr. McKinney said, as someone whos fighting this fight on the front, it has been incredibly disheartening being told, “you don’t know what you’re talking about” until they’re on a ventilator and you’re then being asked to save their life.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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