Monticello, Ark. – Local healthcare providers distributed 553 COVID-19 vaccines across three University of Arkansas at Monticello campuses in the first week of February. From Monday through Thursday of last week, university employees were able to receive vaccinations facilitated by Mainline Health Systems, City Drug, and the Prescription Pad Pharmacy in Monticello, Crossett and McGehee.
Governor Asa Hutchinson included the higher education industry in category 1B of the state vaccine distribution schedule. At UAM, 317 employees opted to receive their vaccinations during the on-campus clinics. Pharmacies also sent individuals from their respective vaccine waiting lists to the Monticello campus clinic to expedite vaccine distribution in the area.
District 8 Representative Jeff Wardlaw, who serves on the Arkansas House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, said vaccine clinics like the one conducted at UAM are vital, collaborative efforts. “Community partnerships are essential in the rollout of this vaccine. In Monticello, we were able to work together to connect supplies with our enthusiastic providers and pharmacies- getting hundreds vaccinated quickly and smoothly,” he said.
UAM Chancellor Peggy Doss expressed her gratitude for Representative Wardlaw, Mainline Health Systems, and the local pharmacies that made the clinic possible. “Anything we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our employees and community is a worthy effort. I am grateful to each member of our faculty and staff for continuing their widespread support of prevention practices – masking, social distancing, sanitizing, and now, choosing to get vaccinated. It is an example of team effort,” she said, “and that extends beyond our campuses.” Doss explained that Alan Nichols, CEO of Mainline Health Systems, along with pharmacist Nikki Hood of City Drug and pharmacist Brian Smith of the Prescription Pad Pharmacy, made sure UAM employees were a priority. “It is a testament to the strength of partnerships in southeast Arkansas and how we can seamlessly work together to meet the needs of our region,” Doss said.