Breaking News
More () »

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson calls for weekend vaccination catch-up in Arkansas

“It is critical to get our vaccines out as quickly as possible, and we have to catch up on the missed appointments and slow vaccine distribution over the last week."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is calling for a weekend vaccination catch-up in the state after fewer Arkansans received their shots due to a historic winter storm. 

Hutchinson is requesting all pharmacies, hospitals and other providers in the Coronavirus Vaccine program to schedule extra hours this weekend to make up for the lost time resulting from the snow and extreme temperatures from this last week. 

“It is critical to get our vaccines out as quickly as possible, and we have to catch up on the missed appointments and slow vaccine distribution over the last week,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We need to move to other categories of 1-B, and the sooner we get more of our 70+ vaccinated then the sooner we will be able to add more Arkansans to the eligible list. If you are a pharmacy with available vaccines, then I am asking you to schedule as many appointments as possible this weekend. If you are in an eligible category, then please make your appointment.” 

“These vaccines are very effective against COVID-19,” Dr. Jose Romero, Secretary of the Department of Health said. “The faster we can all get vaccinated, the faster we can protect our population and hold off the variant strains that are circulating around the world and in the U.S. Please join us in making up your appointment this weekend if you had to delay it because of the weather.”  

“Pharmacists remain on the front lines of the COVID-19 health care response and have been making huge strides in ending this crippling pandemic through their vaccination efforts,” Arkansas Pharmacists Association CEO John Vinson said. “We agree with the governor’s request for all COVID-19 vaccinating pharmacies to ramp up appointments this week, and we will continue to assist them as they push the state forward toward more eligible Phase 1-B groups in the near future. Through survey data, our network of community pharmacies are reporting to the Arkansas Pharmacists Association that they have adequate capacity to double or triple their appointment slots over the next two weeks to reschedule appointments from this week, to schedule new appointments for the future and to respond to the increase in the vaccine supply for Arkansas.” 

States across the U.S. have had fewer vaccines delivered to them due to winter storms blanketing the central part of the nation and the east coast. The Biden Administration is calling it a setback in the effort to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible in his first 100 days in office. 

Credit: TEGNA

As of Friday, the U.S. had more than 493,000 deaths from the virus. In Arkansas, 5,323 people have died COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

You can find a list of places to get the vaccine in Arkansas here

RELATED: Where to get COVID-19 vaccine in Northwest Arkansas & River Valley

RELATED: How to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens