CONWAY, Ark. – Monday, Arkansas saw a dramatic increase of more than 30,000 new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given out across the state.
But even after that influx of shots, the fight to reach a 50% vaccination rate continues.
In Conway, local medical centers partnered with the Fire Department to host a free vaccination clinic with the goal of seeing 100 doses used up by the end of the day. After hours of vaccinating neighbors, they had passed 110.
The clinic hopes to make a dent, no matter how small, in Arkansas’ COVID cases. The majority of those hospitalized across the state are unvaccinated. Conway Regional Medical Center has seen this trend firsthand.
“Based on the cases at the hospital, people being hospitalized are younger,” said Pharmacist Melissa Max, one of those who volunteered to administer shots during the clinic.
Besides the risk to themselves, many people rolled up their sleeves for different reasons. Sherry Crenshaw admitted she was hesitant to get the shot before visiting the clinic but ended up walking away with her first dose.
“It’s just been so bad and the numbers keep going up,” Crenshaw explained, adding that the growing number of cases prompted her to sign up. “I just wanted to do my part.”
Others in attendance said they had decided to get vaccinated after pressure from family or coworkers, the desire to keep loved ones safe, or heading back to school.
14-year-old Kylinn Kenney got the shot to be able to play sports in the fall. She explained she signed up “to keep other people safe and so I don’t get quarantined for basketball.”
The Conway Fire Department says they’ll continue to try and host clinics if there is an increased need in vaccinations and are always available to direct people to the proper resources with questions or concerns.