Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison has an update for Miller County residents about the COVID-19 vaccinations in our area.

The Office of Emergency Management participated in a conference call with the Arkansas Dept of Health and the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management today which gave more insight into the distribution of COVID-19 vaccination. At this point ADH revealed Arkansas is number 10 in the U.S. with vaccination distribution and although currently the allotment to each County is still minimal, a 16% increase of vaccine disbursement should boost doses received in our County.

Targeting of Counties is done by demographics and the effort remains within Phase 1B, especially the people aged 70 and over and the education spectrum which includes teachers, staff and childcare. As these groups are completed, focus will turn to manufacturing and grocery store workers. Although targeting specific demographics, equitable distribution among Phase 1B remains constant. Joe Bennett, Director of Emergency Management said, “We have to get the wheels of education, industry and food preparation rolling faster to meet demands and this can be accomplished by vaccinating our teachers, child care and food industry workers so they can get back to normal production all over southwestern Arkansas.” The ADH is looking at counties in Arkansas who have only vaccinated 3-4% of their population, which would include Miller County. Those Counties will receive more doses than normally distributed. “I expect Miller County to significantly increase its volume of vaccinations within the coming weeks.”

Emergency Management also encourages people to get tested if they suspect or have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. “It’s apparent that some people who become symptomatic after exposure to COVID-19 elect not to get a test, rather they stay home sick or in some cases with mild symptoms, continue to get out into public.” “Those people need to be tested to know for sure. It solves the questions of whether they are infecting others and allows for a more accurate account of cases within Miller County.”
Since January 1st, Bennett has recorded more than 330 new COVID cases and three deaths in Miller County. This information is derived from the ADH, local participating primary care providers, the coroner’s office, and other sources.

Some citizens are still concerned about the vaccine and hear rumors of people getting the vaccine and then got COVID shortly afterwards. Actually, the timing of getting COVID and the vaccine would be coincidental, not causational.

The Press Release states that two pharmacies in Miller County continue to vaccinate daily. College Hill Drug had about 600 on hand this week, although many of those doses are reserved for people ready to receive their second dose. They ask that people continue to sign up on their website to verify eligibility and they will be called as doses arrive. collegehilldrug.com/vaccinations-immunizations

Walmart Pharmacy advised they should be receiving shipments of vaccine weekly going forward for both new patients and second doses for previous patients. On Monday, February 1st, Walmart will go live with an online scheduling system. Walmart should be delivering a minimum of 20 doses per day.

No word on the Miller County Health Unit or when they expect to begin vaccinations. No local plan has yet to be provided to the Office of Emergency Management; however, OEM is working to prepare other venues for vaccine distribution in the coming weeks. “As the volume of vaccine increases, I only hope the Miller County Health Unit will become involved.” Also, no indication from Albertson’s Pharmacy on when they will receive the vaccine for distribution, but Albertson’s advised they’ll contact OEM when it arrives.

Miller County wants to remind the public to rely on reputable media sources and pay attention to City and County officials on direction and guidance. That guidance is disseminated from state and federal sources. Stay alert, stay protected and you’ll stay healthy! Check out the Office of Emergency Management Facebook page for updates on COVID and many more topics.

Thank you and you can visit Miller County online at:
www.millercountyar.com

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