JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Around one million Arkansans are now eligible for the COVID vaccine after the governor announced the state is opening up vaccinations to phase 1C.
Region 8 News asked both NEA Baptist and St. Bernards how they are preparing for the phase expansion.
NEA Baptist Marketing Director Ty Jones says they are ready for 1C.
“We’ve put a lot of focus on perfecting our processes in the earlier groups,” Jones said. “[We] are operationally prepared for a high demand for vaccinations.”
For St. Bernards Media Relations Manager Mitchell Nail, he says it’s a similar story.
“We are ready for that,” Nail said. “We have available vaccines and so from our perspective, obviously, number one, we don’t want to waste a dose, and we’ve not done that yet, but secondly if we have available doses, we want to use them.”
The severe weather didn’t prevent people from getting their vaccine at St. Bernards Auditorium Wednesday. Nail says he has seen the volume of people getting the vaccine increase.
“We attribute a large part of that to the opening of 1C, which we think is a game-changer for us,” Nail said.
Jonesboro native Malachi Stout got his vaccine for the first time Wednesday. He says this day has been a long time coming.
“I just like to see that there is progress being made,” Stout said. “For a time it felt like ‘man, how long is it going to take to move past this, are we going to move past this?’ So it’s encouraging and I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll get to post-COVID time whatever that might look like”
Stout says he’s not fearful of getting COVID-19, but he got the shot to help others who are most prone to getting the virus.
“I’m not particularly fearful of me getting it or contracting it or how I might respond to it,” Stout said. “For those who have pre-existing conditions or are immuno-compromised, if I can do something to prevent them from contracting a severe illness for them in some cases, I feel obligated to do so. If I can promote the flourishing and the health of my neighbor, I feel like I should.”
Nail says St. Bernards has administered over 20,000 doses of the COVID vaccine so far, with no hospitalizations as a result of the vaccine. He adds they usually give at least 600 shots a day.
St. Bernards will be offering a walk-in clinic at the St. Bernards’ Auditorium Thursday, March 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
NEA Baptist will also have a walk-in clinic at the Main Clinic building from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday.