By Haley Hale
Mississippi County in Northeastern Arkansas is lagging the region in the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations even after holding several vaccination clinics. Demand for the shots initially was high but now is waning and a leading pharmacy said supply of the vaccine was an issue.
As of March 31, Mississippi County has 11.1 percent of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A leader in that effort was Rose Pharmacy in Blytheville, which initially saw high demand. “We has a waiting list, and I think we’re around 2,500 people that we’ve been close to vaccinating,” said Gabby Webb, a pharmacy technician at Rose Pharmacy. Now Webb estimates there are only 200 people on the waiting list.
Further complicating matters is a varying supply from the state. Rose Pharmacy initially was receiving 300 vaccine per week for two weeks, but later began receiving 100 a week as more pharmacies became eligible, Webb said.
Daynelle NcNeill, Arkansas Department of Health Public Information Coordinator, said the supply of vaccines to the county remains the same. “The total steady flow has not changed in any way though,” NcNeill said. “We’re providing 100 doses a week to three different providers for a total for 300 doses.”
The health department also was doing a push in Blytheville through special events. In its March 31 report, the Health Department said 3,617 residents were fully vaccinated, up from 2,835 on March 16. Craighead led the region with 16.8% of its adult populations fully vaccinated, close to the statewide rate of 17.3% on March 31.
The county has hosted two vaccination clinics in Blytheville and Osceola on March 24. The Arkansas Department of Health also hosted a clinic in Blytheville on April 5.