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Local pharmacies prepare for Phase 1-B vaccination group

MARKED TREE- Ark, Gov. Hutchinson announced on Tuesday that the state would move into phase 1-B, expanding the vaccination group.

Pharmacies like Family Care in Marked Tree started to prepare, using phase 1-A as a roadmap.

"We're vaccinating health care workers, and we're finishing up a home local nursing agency today," says pharmacist at Family Care Pharmacy, Joe Roach. "That's given us kinda a practice run before Monday. Because Monday it's going to really be busy. We're gonna have not only the school system but as well as the 70 and older in our community."

Once Gov. Hutchinson announced the 1-B vaccination group would start early, moving it up from February, calls began to flood in.

Roach says they made a waitlist due to the large response.

"We've had several hundred calls. Of course, again, they're not that much vaccine available. But we're going as fast as we can. We kinda have an assembly line where we work through each stage of giving them the information about the vaccine, doing intake forms and processing it in our computer and ultimately vaccinating," says Roach.

Teachers, higher education employees, and school and daycare staff, in addition to those 70 and older, now qualify to receive the vaccine.

That totals roughly around 440,000 Arkansans.

Roach asks people for patience, as there won't initially be enough vaccine for all who qualify come Monday.

As Arkansas only gets 40,000 doses a week to distribute across the state.

"There is not enough vaccine right now to take care of everybody that eligible. It will take a few weeks on the rollout because they're ramping up production, and no pharmacy is going to have enough to do everyone this week or next week. It's gonna take a little bit of time. But everybody will get vaccinated," says Roach.

Phase 1-B part 2 will begin in February, and the Arkansas Department of Health expects Phase 1-C to start in April.


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