Arkansas health officials and pharmacies continue working to try and make it as easy as possible for people in the state to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
At Tuesday night’s season opener for the Arkansas Travelers, the first of at least four vaccination clinics was held at Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock. But while there were lines of people waiting a half-hour or more for beer, there was no wait to get a shot, with the doctors and nurses mostly hanging out, eagerly engaging anyone who approached.
The Arkansas Medical Society, which organized this clinic, says 11 people were vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine so that there wouldn’t need to be a follow up. Dr. Chad Rogers, president of the group, said he wasn’t disappointed with the response.
“I wasn’t quite sure what the uptake would be and it was kind of a surprise,” he said, while a foul ball soared nearby with young kids scrambling after it. “I’m glad to see people having a very positive response to the vaccine and that people have confidence in the vaccine.”
As the game between the Travelers and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals progressed, announcements were made regularly to the crowd in between introductions for players coming up to bat. A hundred doses were brought to Tuesday’s game and, if needed, Rogers said they were prepared for the possibility of needing to go get more.
He said hosting vaccination clinics at games, festivals and other community events are an effort to make it as convenient as possible for people to get a shot.
“A lot of people are working, or either it’s a matter of taking off time to go see your doctor or going to the pharmacy,” Rogers said.
Subsequent Travelers games where the society is planning host clinics at the ballpark are:
- Saturday, May 15
- Thursday, May 27
- Sunday, June 20
Additional game day clinics may be scheduled, if warranted, Rogers said. He also said members of teams may serve as examples for those in the crowd.
“I think we’re actually going to get some players to get their vaccinations,” Rogers said. “A lot of them are not from Arkansas and have not had the opportunity to get vaccinated and so we’ll get some of our baseball players vaccinated as well. So, it’s exciting.”
Meanwhile 298 new cases of people testing positive for the virus were reported Wednesday by the Arkansas Department of Health. Active cases were up by 109, for a total of 2,152. Two additional death were also reported – one confirmed from COVID-19, with the other categorized as probable.
In a statement, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, “Our case numbers are similar to last week, continuing the trend we've seen for weeks. While these numbers are lower than the first few months of this year, we can still work to lower them even further by getting vaccinated and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.”