UAMS Vaccinates More Than 1,100 Arkansans at Weekend Vaccination Clinics

By Karmen Robinson

UAMS administered 487 Pfizer vaccines during the first of four Community Vaccination Clinics at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock on April 10.

The next three clinics will be held on May 1, May 22 and June 12, and everyone present must wear a face mask. To make an appointment for a vaccination, call (501) 526-2211 or go to The clinics are prepared to vaccinate from 1,000 to 2,000 people daily.

Also April 10, UAMS held a mobile clinic in Little Rock at Saint Mark Baptist Church, where 258 Arkansans received vaccinations.

“There are people who want the vaccine but may not have transportation to a clinic, pharmacy or hospital. Our mobile clinics allow us to meet people where they are and get them vaccinated,” said Michelle Krause, M.D., MPH. “Partnering with local churches like Saint Mark gives us the opportunity to provide our community with accessibility to the vaccine.”

Then on April 11, UAMS vaccinated 400 Arkansans at its COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at the Centre at University Park on 12th Street in Little Rock to round out the weekend clinics. The 12th Street clinic is open seven days a week.

UAMS staff and volunteers at the Simmons Bank Arena mass clinic carefully walked patients through instructions and answered questions as Arkansans rolled up their sleeves to receive the vaccine. With a mix of first-timers and those getting their second shots, the clinic turned into a family affair for many people, including sisters Diann Chase, Ph.D., and Christine Smith.

Diann Chase, Ph.D., getting her second shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Diann Chase, Ph.D., getting her second shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Both sisters, who each received their final dose of the vaccine, served in their communities throughout central Arkansas before retiring. Chase previously worked in education as Smith worked in law enforcement. While both were initially hesitant to get their vaccines, they kept their community in mind, with their children and grandchildren at the forefront of their decision.

“We talked each other into doing it,” Chase said. “We thought about it and said we wanted to protect ourselves, our families and others, so we decided to go ahead and take the plunge.”

Since Pfizer is the only vaccine in the country approved for teens as young as 16 years old, some parents and their teenagers were eager to register for the clinic, with hopes of safely returning to school, participating in activities and bouncing back to normalcy.

Corrie Albright, who had already received both shots, brought her 17-year-old daughter, Ainsley, to the mass clinic to get her first dose of the vaccine.

Ainsley Alrbight, 17, getting her first vaccine

Ainsley Albright, 17, getting her first vaccine.

“I participate in a lot of sports, I have a job, and I want to make sure I’m able to see my family,” said Ainsley Albright, a junior at North Little Rock High School. “I feel like everybody, if possible, should get the vaccine so that all of us are protected from the virus.”

While most people registered in advance to secure a guaranteed vaccination appointment, the clinic was open to walk-ins as well.

“We want to get people vaccinated as quickly and as safely as possible, so we wanted to maximize our efforts and ensure that anyone who wanted a vaccine could get one,” said Deborah Hutts, MSN, RN, clinical services manager with UAMS Triage. “The clinic went very well, and our community partner volunteers were exceptional as well as the staff at Simmons Bank Arena. We’re looking forward to getting more people vaccinated at the next clinic.”

Clinic organizers recommend scheduling an appointment for the next clinic on May 1. Arkansans will still have the opportunity to register on site but run the risk of slots filling up in advance.

Alongside UAMS and Simmons Bank Arena, community partners for all four mass vaccination clinics include the cities of North Little Rock and Sherwood, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Pulaski County.