By Grayson Green
Miller County in southwestern Arkansas stands out with the lowest vaccination rate in the state, with just 3% of its population fully vaccinated. The county’s close proximity to Texas may be throwing off the numbers.
Arkansas Department of Health data shows that as of March 16, some 1,091 people in Miller County had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some Miller County residents crossed the border into Texas and were vaccinated in Texarkana, Texas, said Joe Bennett, director of the Miller County Office of Emergency Management.
Local officials said there’s a shortage of vaccines in the county, home to Texarkana and some 44,000 residents. One reason involves the Miller County Health Unit is awaiting vaccination approval from the state health department, said Sandra McGough, administrator at the Miller County Health Unit.
Bennett questioned the selection of pharmacies to distribute the vaccine. One vaccine distributor was “a closed door pharmacy only serving mental patients from SW Arkansas,” said Bennett in an email.
“The selection of participating pharmacies who applied to become a distributor should have been evaluated more closely,” he said.