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COVID Vaccinations Up in AR as Delta Variant Spreads

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Monday, August 9, 2021   

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansans are well aware the state is seeing one of the nation's worst outbreaks of the delta COVID variant - but it's also seeing a big uptick in vaccinations.

On Friday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported almost 2,800 new COVID cases - but also more than 11,000 vaccine doses administered, at least double from the month prior.

Dr. Creshelle Nash, medical director for health equity and public programs at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it's important to keep trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible to prevent a larger surge.

"I think there are mainly two groups of people we can reach in Arkansas, what data is telling us," said Nash, "those 'wait and see' people, and to continue to educate about possible side effects. There are people that are still very concerned about that, and rightly so. But we have to give people credible information, and we will continue to do that."

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is leading an educational initiative, called "Vaccinate the Natural State," to get more Arkansans protected against COVID-19. The state says more than 42% of residents over age 12 are now fully vaccinated.

Beatriz Mondragon, grants coordinator and program manager for the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, said they've also seen vaccine demand start to pick up again at their community-based clinics across the state.

She said they've focused on hosting clinics at places like churches and food banks, to better serve hard-to-reach communities.

"It's important to, at this point, target the entire state and be able to bring those resources to the rural communities," said Mondragon. "Because they have those barriers, of transportation, not a lot of resources available there, health resources available there. So, we want to meet people where they are."

Arkansas Minority Health hosts a vaccine clinic today from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mission Outreach of Northeast Arkansas in Greene County. Other vaccine sites are online at 'arminorityhealth.com.'




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