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Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield announces 'Vaccinate the Natural State' initiative

The goal of the campaign is to encourage Arkansans to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it's their turn.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Organizations from every corner of Arkansas have partnered together to introduce a brand-new initiative called "Vaccinate the Natural State."

The campaign is planning for the very near future when the COVID-19 vaccine is made available to everyone. The goal of the campaign is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“Get people to get the vaccine and get vaccinated when it’s their turn. That’s really what we are working on," said Curtis Barnett, President & CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross, Blue Shield.

RELATED: New COVID-19 cases remain low in Arkansas on Monday, more vaccines to be administered this week following winter storm

One of the campaign’s primary focuses is business-to-business engagement. This could mean vaccination events at your workplace in the future.

"It does look at leveraging work sites, and as we get more access to the vaccine, it will look at leveraging faith-based organizations and community-based organizations," said Pearl McElfish, Vice-Chancellor of UAMS Northwest Regional Campus.

Health experts say minority groups are three times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, which is where the second focus of the initiative comes into play, community engagement.

“In some communities, it will be developing communications in languages or in an understandable way so that people can consume and make the best decision for themselves," said Creshelle Nash, Director of Public Programs, AR Blue Cross, Blue Shield. 

Officials say it's important to stop the spread of misinformation about the vaccine. Scientists say even though the process was done quickly, it can still be trusted

“It’s critical to understand that the process that was used to develop this vaccine really built upon 100 years of science," McElfish said.

Organizers say we are just weeks away from widespread COVID-19 vaccine availability.

They say it will also look into funding for mobile units to reach people who cannot get out of their homes or cannot travel to get a vaccine. 

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