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Clay County seniors among most vaccinated age groups in state

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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CLAY COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - As vaccines continue to roll out, so do efforts to get people vaccinated.

Around 30 percent of Arkansans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but one rural county is performing better than most Region 8 counties.

According to the CDC, Clay County seniors are some of the most protected against COVID-19 in Region 8, as over 60 percent of Clay County residents over 65 are fully vaccinated against the virus.

At Cate Pharmacy in Corning, pharmacists made lists when the vaccine started to roll out, calling their patients to talk to them about the vaccine.

Pharmacist Noah Tacker tells me the pharmacy of over 40 years has built a level of trust with their patients.

He says while there was and still is hesitancy around the virus, most of their eligible patients have been receptive to getting the shot.

“When we tell people that we’ve had our vaccines and they look at us and they see that we’re doing just fine that kind of helps [to ease their concerns],” Tacker said. “A lot of people in the area, they know someone that’s had it, they’ve got a cousin or a brother or grandmother or whoever that’s had it. That kind of helps ease their minds too.”

Easing concerns is also a priority for 1st Choice Healthcare physician Clinton Smith.

He says they’re focusing on debunking myths on social media and educating their patients, answering any questions and concerns they may have.

Smith credited the pharmacies in the county for their efforts to help get the word out.

“We encourage people if they have any questions to call and get their questions answered,” Dr. Smith said. “I think educating the public on why they should get the vaccine is very important.

Smith said he’s also urging his patients to be cautious and to use common sense, especially after the CDC’s recent announcement, saying fully vaccinated individuals can go maskless indoors, with some restrictions.

He added that he’s seen some hesitancy among his patients to take the mask off. Between the vaccine and masks, he’s focused on educating his patients, and his office will continue to promote wearing masks in health care facilities for the foreseeable future.

“I still think that patients should take caution because this virus is still out there,” Dr. Smith said. “The fact that the CDC has allowed those who have been vaccinated — yes they do not have to wear the mask — but it’s very important that they still use common sense.”

Tacker has also seen some hesitancy among his patients to take off the mask. He encourages them to keep the mask on if they do not feel comfortable taking it off just yet.

Both Tacker and Smith say they’re trying to keep people informed while trying to get the vaccination numbers up. They say it’s all part of the effort to make sure people are as protected as possible against COVID-19.

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