Veterans' health care system in Central Arkansas runs out of covid vaccines

Empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccines lie in a box during a vaccine campaign at the Vaccine Village in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany, in this May 15, 2021, file photo. (AP/Matthias Schrader)
Empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccines lie in a box during a vaccine campaign at the Vaccine Village in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany, in this May 15, 2021, file photo. (AP/Matthias Schrader)

The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System said Thursday that it has “exhausted its supply of covid-19 vaccines available to veterans,” but it expects to receive more doses next week.

In an emailed notice, the system attributed the shortfall to "a small allotment of covid-19 vaccines distributed to Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System."

Arlo Taylor, a spokesman for the system, also cited supply chain issues as a reason for the shortage.

"The anticipated arrival of the new covid-19 vaccine shipment is next week," the system said in the notice and a Facebook post, adding that the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System "will provide an update when the new shipment arrives and is available to our Veterans."

The announcement came two days after the system said on Facebook that vaccinations were available at the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock and the Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center in North Little Rock.

In the post on Tuesday, the system said vaccinations were not available at its outpatient clinics "at this time due to allotment size."

Veterans with questions can call the system's Public Health and Safety Clinic at (501) 257-6020, the system said.

Federal regulators last month approved versions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that were updated to more closely match the covid strains now in circulation.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the new vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older.

People 5 and older who have not had a covid-19 shot in the past two months should get one dose of an updated covid vaccine, according to the CDC.

Children ages 6 months to 4 years should get either one, two or three doses, depending on which vaccine they receive and whether they were previously vaccinated, the agency says.

Ly is a Report for America Corps member.

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