By Grayson Green
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday urged pharmacies, hospitals, and other medical providers to work through the weekend to catch up on COVID-19 vaccine appointments that were delayed by this week’s severe winter storms.
“It is critical to get our vaccines out as quickly as possible, and we have to catch up on the missed appointments,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “If you are a pharmacy with available vaccines, then I am asking you to schedule as many appointments as possible this weekend.”
Some pharmacies were already juggling their schedules to play catch up. Jessica Anderson, a pharmacist at Heartland Pharmacy in Fayetteville, said they had moved Monday and Tuesday vaccine cancellations to Thursday and Friday due to the storm delays.
Heartland Pharmacy has been distributing 15 to 20 vaccine shots a day this week, and after today, no more doses will be available for the week, she said.
“Pharmacists remain on the front lines of the COVID-19 health care response and have been making huge strides in ending this crippling pandemic through their vaccination efforts,” John Vinson, Arkansas Pharmacists Association chief executive officer, said in a statement. He agreed with Hutchinson’s call to pick up the vaccination pace and said pharmacies have the capacity to double or triple appointments over the next two weeks.