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Healthcare leaders in Texas, Ark. say they need more people to get vaccinated

Health leaders in Miller County, Ark. held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic July 22, 2021 as...
Health leaders in Miller County, Ark. held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic July 22, 2021 as vaccination rates in the state continue to leave something desired.(KSLA)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:37 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA (KSLA) - For weeks, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in the ArkLaTex. Healthcare leaders in both Arkansas and Texas are continuing their efforts to get the problem under control, but they say they need more cooperation from citizens.

There were plenty of supplies on hand Thursday, July 22 for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Miller County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in Texarkana, Arkansas, but the demand was very low. Some healthcare leaders say this is contributing to the uptick of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas.

“There are a lot of factors. Some people are adamant they are not going to receive the vaccine,” said Joe Bennett, director of the Miller County OEM.

Bennett says the positive COVID-19 cases in his county are the same now as in March of 2020. He says many are still reluctant to get the vaccine. The State of Arkansas is among the lowest in the nation for vaccinations, with around 35% of residents receiving the shot.

Greg Vandiver was among the few to take advantage of Thursday’s clinic.

Health leaders in Miller County, Ark. held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic July 22, 2021 as...
Health leaders in Miller County, Ark. held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic July 22, 2021 as vaccination rates in the state continue to leave something desired.(KSLA)

“I’ve been toying with the idea and I decided that it is getting worse again, so I need to do it. Everybody needs to do it,” he said.

According to Bennett, Governor Asa Hutchinson has allocated enough doses to vaccinate everyone in the county; his office will continue its efforts to encourage people to get the shot.

“Encouraging smaller groups of people like church congregations and civic groups is our main focus, because those smaller groups are led by people who can encourage their congregation and group to come and get vaccinated,” Bennett said.

A second vaccination clinic was held at the Family Health Clinic in Texarkana, Texas. Health leaders there are also seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients.

“This is a Delta virus, so it’s imperative to remain vigilant and be responsible, do our research, and one way that we do know how we can protect each other is with the vaccination,” said Dr. Matt Young with the Bowie County Health Authority.

Both Arkansas and Texas health leaders say residents do not have to attend a vaccination clinic to get their shot since area pharmacies have plenty of vaccines available.

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