After more than a year of hardship due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Arkansans are starting to transition back to a sense of pre-COVID normalcy. This would not have been possible without the accelerated production of three different lifesaving vaccines facilitated by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. While many helpful and bipartisan pieces of legislation have helped sustain our economy and protect our families, the key to coming out of this pandemic is getting central Arkansans vaccinated. As more and more Arkansans are getting vaccinated, active COVID cases across the state decline.

As of May 25, 2021, 1,941,400 COVID vaccine doses had been administered in Arkansas, and 882,508 Arkansans are fully immunized with another 239,837 individuals having been partially immunized. Vaccines are now available throughout Arkansas to everyone 12 years of age and older, but in order for Arkansas to achieve Governor Asa Hutchinson’s goal of having 50 percent of Arkansans vaccinated by the beginning of August, more work needs to be done.

The easiest way to secure a vaccine is to check with your local pharmacy or healthcare provider and schedule an appointment. If you need assistance in booking a vaccine, please contact the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-985-6030 from 8 am to 8 pm daily. You can also visit https://www.vaccines.gov/, call 1-800-232-0233, or text your zip code to 438829 to find a location near you and their vaccine availability. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, pharmacies such as your local Kroger, Walmart, Harps, CVS, and Walgreens are also participating as vaccine providers.

There are numerous other opportunities across central Arkansas as well. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, this Saturday, May 29, you can visit Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton, right here in central Arkansas, from 9am until 2pm to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. Those who receive a vaccine will also be entered into a drawing for two nights of lodging at an Arkansas state park of their choice.

Even the Arkansas Travelers baseball team has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Medical Society to provide one-shot vaccines at games. The next scheduled clinic will take place on June 20, at Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock when the Travelers take on Tulsa.

Visit the Arkansas Department of Health’s website (https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-vaccination-plan) and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s website (https://www.cdc.gov/corona virus /2019-ncov/vaccines/your-vaccination.html) to get more information about the types of vaccines, precautions one needs to take, and vaccine information for those with allergies, severe illness, or who are pregnant. You can also learn more about benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine – and start getting back to normalcy.

I encourage you to check with your healthcare provider and choose which option best suits you. With the dropping of mask mandates and a promising outlook of Arkansans getting the vaccine, I am reminded of the late President Ronald Reagan saying “It’s morning again” as we begin to look forward with confidence to the future.

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