Arkansas National Guard helping state health department vaccinate people in rural areas

The Arkansas National Guard is assisting with COVID-19 vaccine administration in rural Nevada...
The Arkansas National Guard is assisting with COVID-19 vaccine administration in rural Nevada County, Arkansas.(KSLA)
Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 1:34 PM CDT
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NEVADA COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - The Arkansas National Guard and the state health department are working to bring help to rural areas battling COVID-19.

Nevada County is a rural county in Arkansas with just more than 8,000 people. But the area only has one pharmacy. Since January, employees there have been consumed with providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

“It’s been quite an undertaking in getting the population vaccinated. We welcome any assistance the state will provide us in getting everybody protected,” pharmacist Eric Crumbaugh said.

Help arrived Tuesday, March 23 in the form of four medics with the Arkansas Army National Guard.

“Our first mission is to protect the state of Arkansas, to render aid to any type of natural disaster such as this, administer vaccine just to support the community and show we are a part of it as well,” said Austin Hudson, a Guardsman.

In an effort to help rural areas fight COVID-19, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has deployed the Guard to four cities throughout the state, including Prescott in Nevada County. From March 23-26, the National Guard will be stationed at the Nevada County Health Unit administering COVID-19 vaccines. Leaders with the health department say they hope to give around 600 shots during this time period.

“It’s really important because there has been a lot of people who have gotten sick with COVID and people you would not, people who were healthy and it affected them more than they thought,” said Debra Henderson, of the Nevada County Health Unit.

Members of the Harris family in Prescott were among the first to get the shot Tuesday and expressed relief at the availability of the vaccine.

“We kept waiting because of 1A, 1B, 1C. It finally got down where we could get ours,” said Ralph and Claudette Harris.

“I hope that we get the majority of the people vaccinated and they are not worried about trying to find the vaccine,” Henderson said.

To make an appointment to receive the vaccine in Arkansas, call toll-free at 1-800-985-6030.

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