(KSLA) - The State of Arkansas is now moving into Phase 1-B of its COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan. Health officials start vaccinating people Monday, Jan. 18.
Those 70 and older, as well as teachers, school staff, child care workers, and higher education employees can now be vaccinated. Later in the process, if the state says there are enough doses, food/agricultural workers, firefighters, police officers and corrections staff not in Phase 1-A, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, USPS employees, and essential government/community workers will also be vaccinated.
Those 70 and up can schedule their appointment with a local pharmacy that’s administering the shot. School districts will let the Arkansas Department of Health know how many doses are needed, then will schedule a vaccination clinic with a local pharmacy. See the map below for pharmacies administering the vaccine.
Dr. Becky Kesler, superintendent of Texarkana Arkansas School District, says she’s seeing enthusiasm among her staff members about the prospect of soon being vaccinated. In fact, according to Kesler, 79% of her employees plan to be vaccinated even though it’s not mandatory.
“They touch the lives of so many and interact with so many students and other teachers,” Kesler said. “Our high school teachers may see up to 150 students per day, so that’s a lot of people they’re coming in contact with.”
Though now eligible, Kesler says after a recent meeting with Governor Asa Hutchinson, it could still be weeks before doses of the vaccine are available.
“It may be a couple of weeks away, but hopefully as soon as it gets here, we’ll make it available to them,” Kesler added.
Prior to Monday, Arkansas was in Phase 1-A, which included healthcare workers, long-term health facility residents and staff, EMS personnel, and firefighters and law enforcement officers who serve as first responders.
According to health department officials with the state, 40% of doses allocated across the state have been administered.
Click here for more information from the Arkansas Department of Health.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Kesler below.