Pharmacists join fight
Several local pharmacies are among those that will be administering Covid-19 vaccine shots, including Delta Drug in Manila, Rose Pharmacy in Blytheville and Southern Pharmacy in Leachville in Mississippi County, and Southern Pharmacy in Craighead County and Poinsett County, and McFarlin Pharmacy in Monette.
Presently they are scheduling shots for those in the Phase 1-A category. Other pharmacies in Craighead County participating include Soos, Super V Medicine Shoppe, and Woodsprings, all in Jonesboro.
Pharmacists Jeremy Jackson (Delta Drug), Kyle Lomax (Southern Pharmacy), Michael McFarlin, (McFarlin Pharmacy) and John Rose(Rose Pharmacy) all agree it is a joint effort to get the vaccine out to the people. All will be following the Department of Health guidelines,
Jackson said with the help of the pharmacists more vaccines can be administered. Being part of the program consisted of a lot of paperwork and pharmacists participating have to stay informed on any changes.
“We will have to plan ahead on how many doses we will need to meet the demand,” Jackson said.
He said they all have a waiting list. Unlike the flu vaccine, as of right now, people can’t just walk in and ask for a Covid-19 shot. One reason is, the shots are being given in phases and recipients have to meet the criteria. Getting the vaccine out to health care workers is a priority. The vaccine also comes in 10-dose vials so Jackson said they have to schedule the immunizations to prevent waste.
Delta, Rose and Southern pharmacies conducted vaccine clinics in Blytheville at the hospital on Thursday and have a clinic in Osceola scheduled for next week offering vaccines to the health care workers.
The vaccine is provided at no charge to the patients and even if people do not have insurance, they can still get the vaccine without being charged.
“I know there has been some skepticism about the vaccine being on the market in a year,” Jackson said. “Some people think it was developed too quickly but the science has been under development for years. The speed should not be a concern. Vaccines have been given since September with the majority seeing no problems more than a sore arm. It is similar to other vaccines.”
The vaccine comes in two doses and they have the second one available which will follow in in 21 to 28 days.
Right now the state is in Phase 1-A with health care workers receiving high priority listing along with long-term care facility staff and residents and other groups such as primary care workers, urgent care workers, college/university student health centers, K-12 health clinics and school nurses, dental clinics, EMS, fire and law enforcement who serve as first responders, pharmacies, home health, private care/personal care, hospice care, Dialysis centers, corrections officers, blood donation centers.
They are hoping to have Phase 1-B to begin in February. It will be for people who are 70 and older and front line essential workers such as teachers and school staff, food and agriculture workers, firefighters/police not in 1-A, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, child care workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, and essential government workers.
It is estimated Phase 1-C will begin in April which will make the vaccine available to people 65-69; people who are 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions and essential workers including transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing, public safety, finance, IT and communications, energy, media, public health workers.
Lomax (Southern Pharmacies) said they are working as a team and it is a joint effort to get the vaccine out to the people. Lomax encourages people to get on the list. Lomax pharmacies are located in Mississippi, Craighead and Poinsett Counties. He said there have been a lot of doses given in the hospital systems in Craighead County and they were able to reach out to other people in the Phase 1-A group.
McFarlin said they received their first shipment and started administering the vaccine on Dec. 31 and have held clinics daily.
He said they have the Pfizer vaccine available with two doses. He has served several area nursing homes for workers and residents in the Phase 1-A guidelines.
McFarlin said Craighead County may get into the Phase 1-B category a little earlier than estimated.
“The state selected us and we are all working hard to get the vaccine out to the people throughout the counties we serve,” Jackson said.
To get on the list for the Southern Pharmacies, go to their website at southernpharmacy.net and sign-up information will pop up.
Jackson said to get on the list at Delta Drug call 870-561-3113.
To sign up at Rose Pharmacy, call 870-762-4545.
To sign up at McFarlin Pharmacy call 870-486-5220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers will need to give name, age, occupation and phone number and they will be scheduled for the vaccine.