Two vaccine clinics coming up in county

Friday, March 19, 2021

Blytheville Mayor James Sanders announced March 17 that two vaccine clinics would be coming to Mississippi County on March 24.

The NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University is hosting both clinics, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

From 9 a.m.-12 p.m. , vaccines will be available at the Osceola City Hall at 313 W. Hale street. The second clinic will be held at the New St. Paul Baptist Church located at 515 E. Sawyer from 1 p.m-5 p.m. Additionally, the second dosage will be scheduled there as well. To sign up for the clinic, citizens can call 870-680-8880 for both locations.

The vaccine distribution plan has now reached Phase 1C and will remain open to those in previous phases who wish to receive the vaccine. Phase 1C includes those ages 16-64 with health conditions that increase their risk of severe effects from COVID-19.

Mississippi County health officer Dr. Valencia Andrews-Pirtle described those health conditions during the weekly coronavirus report.

“Those are things like COPD,” Pirtle said. Which are groups of common lung diseases causing difficulty breathing like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

“Cancer, chronic kidney disease, down syndrome, heart conditions, those with a BMI greater than 30, those who are immunocompromised, pregnant women, sickle cell patients and those with Type 2 Diabets all qualify under this phase,” Pirtle said.

Pirtle and Sanders also addressed the importance of taking advantage of the upcoming clinics to make sure Mississippi County continues to receive the vaccines moving forward.

“We’re trying to be intentional in making the vaccines available to everyone,”Sanders said.

“But if the people of Blytheville and Mississippi County do not participate, then they are not going to send as many vaccinations to our area.”

Despite the numbers trending down for Mississippi County with only 20 active cases reported, along with the some restrictions being lifted, Sanders still pushed for citizens to move with caution.

“I’ve heard some people saying that the governor is going to open up Arkansas on March 31. He said he would look at doing so but all of this depends on us Arkansasans,” Sanders said.

Additionally, Pirtle warned against traveling for Spring Break as the nation nor state have reached herd immunity.

“It took us a long time to get to this point. I don’t think it's time to go down to Florida and not wear a mask. Even if you have been vaccinated, continue wearing unless you’re eating,” Pirtle said. “Spring break is super important and it could set us back if we’re not careful.”