Local officials discuss vaccine

Saturday, January 9, 2021

In the latest COVID-19 update, Mayor James Sanders was joined by Jermey Jackson of Delta Drug in Manila and Mississippi County Office of Emergency Management Director Wayne Reynolds to further discuss the vaccination process.

Currently, Delta Drug in Manila, Rose Pharmacy in Blytheville and Southern Pharmacy in Leachville are managing the vaccines and directing the process for vaccinating the county.

During the Zoom meeting, a clinic to administer the vaccine was announced in both Blytheville and Osceola. The vaccine distribution plan in Arkansas is still in Phase 1A, focusing on health care workers and first responders.

The clinic in Blytheville was held Jan. 7 at Great River Medical Center and around 120 doses were scheduled to be given. Another clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the SMC Regional Medical Center.

Jackson also confirmed that the second dosage for everyone who took the vaccine on Jan. 7 will be secure and available to them in the first week of February.

“For example, in my case there were 200 allotted to me, 100 were sent to me and 100 were put on reserve that will be automatically sent to me when it’s time for that second dose,” Jackson said. “There’s no concern with there not being enough supply for that second one.”

The Arkansas Department of Health is estimating Phase 1B, concerning people 70 and above, teachers and school staff, child care workers, U.S Postal workers, essential government workers, etc., to begin in February.

Phase 1C, concerning people 65 and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, transportation and food service workers, etc. is estimated to begin in April.

However, Mississippi County Health Officer Andrews Pirtle also stated that if you have recently contracted the COVID-19 and have been treated in other ways, you should hold back on receiving the vaccine.

“If you had Covid and were treated with the monoclonal antibodies, you should not get the vaccination for at least three months,” Pirtle said. She also addressed the new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 that has been identified in other parts of the country.

“There’s no proof right now that the vaccination is not going to work against that strain. But there is proof that it is more contagious. We really have to be very careful and make sure that we’re wearing our masks, wearing them correctly and social distancing.”

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson reported 102 active locations in the Blytheville area on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to understand that just because we have the vaccine doesn't mean this is over,” Sanders said. “It’s still not time to party. Even though we’re working toward getting the vaccine, people can still contract this and it’s still killing people.”