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Residents 70 and older receive their first doses of virus vaccine

by By I.C. Murrell Pine Bluff Commercial | January 19, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Doctor’s Orders pharmacist Sally Kalkbrenner administers a covid-19 shot to Joe Baxter, 87, inside a family van Monday near the pharmacy on West 28th Avenue. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

Joe and Bettye Baxter’s daughters transported them to Doctor’s Orders Pharmacy on West 28th Avenue as some of the first Arkansans 70 and older to receive a covid-19 vaccine.

Using the family van, the Pine Bluff residents didn’t even have to leave the vehicle.

“I didn’t know she even gave it me,” Joe, 87, said when asked how getting the shot felt.

Bettye, 86, said through one of her daughters that she wasn’t hurting, either.

Sally Kalkbrenner, a pharmacist at Doctor’s Orders, had the honor of giving the first covid-19 shot from the pharmacy to a registered nurse on Jan. 5, and Kalkbrenner gave Joe the painless poke.

“This is a good example of getting people over 70 together to take the shot,” Kalkbrenner said. “They’ll need help with getting to and from the doctor and having transportation.”

Monday marked the first day adults 70 and older were eligible for the doses under the state’s vaccination plan. A line formed outside Doctor’s Orders’ temporary vaccination center a few suites away from its location at 2302 W. 28th Ave. and included those who registered in advance online.

Lelan Stice, Doctor’s Orders owner, said a link will be posted on the pharmacy’s Facebook page starting at noon today for another clinic to begin Friday.

Monday was also to be the first day K-12 faculty members and child care workers were scheduled to get the shots, but Doctor’s Orders began administering shots to educators in Jefferson County’s four school districts on Thursday as they had the supplies available. Stice said about 400 registration slots were filled for that wave of vaccinations within 94 minutes of the web link going live after Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s announcement that faculty members were elevated into a higher-priority group.

“We finished giving shots in Watson Chapel and Dollarway [school districts] last week,” Stice said. “[Today] and Wednesday, we will finish giving shots in White Hall and Pine Bluff.”

Clinics for faculty members at Southeast Arkansas College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will begin Thursday. Stice said those interested in being vaccinated are asked to follow guidance from their supervisors on how to get the shots.

Others who are eligible are asked to sign up for vaccinations at injecttoprotect.com . So far, health care workers, long-term care workers, first responders and correctional staff members have been among those prioritized.

The following populations included in Phase 1-C of the state vaccination plan are expected to be eligible in April: those ages 65 and older; those ages 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions; and workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing, finance, information technology and communications, energy, media, public safety and public health.

Stice cautioned that the vaccinations are not yet available to instructors in youth programs such as dance and little league athletics.

Print Headline: Residents 70 and older receive their first doses of virus vaccine

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