*Editor’s note: This article was published in March 2021, when vaccines were not available to everyone. As of 2023, every Arkansas resident can access the COVID-19 vaccination and is encouraged to stay up to date with their vaccinations to protect the health of the community.
COVID-19 vaccinations are now opened to everyone in category 1-C in Arkansas.
Vaccination eligibility now includes people 16 and older with health conditions that increase their risk for severe COVID-19, as well as people who work in the following industries:
- Food service
- IT and communications
- Public health/human services
- Public safety
- Shelter and housing
- Transportation and logistics
Vaccination eligibility also has been expanded to people in high-risk settings including those detained or incarcerated, in group homes, congregate settings or crowded housing like student housing — dorms and Greek houses.
This new phase still includes all manufacturing facilities, public transport, grocery store workers, those working in meal delivery and postal and package delivery services as well as people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
You can still get vaccinated if you are age 65 or older, a healthcare worker, a first responder, an educator, a food or agriculture processor. You can learn more about category 1-C from the Arkansas Department of Health Vaccination Plan.
Arkansas also now has a toll-free hotline to assist Arkansans with making a vaccine appointment. The number is 1-800-985-6030. You can call from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Translation services are available.
Please be patient as demand may outweigh availability, but it’s important to schedule your vaccination as soon as possible. To schedule, click here for a map of locations in Arkansas.
How do you schedule a vaccination?
Once you select a pharmacy, you can either call the location or schedule your appointment online, where available. The Arkansas Department of Health realizes there is not enough vaccine available for everyone at first, but they will get an additional supply each week and will work to make it available as quickly as possible.
What does it cost?
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 won’t cost you anything. All FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are covered at no additional cost during the public health emergency. The federal government requires health plans to cover the vaccine’s administrative costs. That means you shouldn’t have any out-of-pocket expenses.
Why should you get a COVID-19 vaccine?
The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People with severe COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, may be placed on ventilators and could die. The CDC states, “An analysis of more than 114,000 COVID-19 associated deaths during May-August 2020, found that 78% of the people who died were age 65 and older.”
Should you talk to your doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. If you have questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you should call your primary care clinic. But remember they do not have the vaccine at this time. Calling to request the vaccine at your clinic ties up the phone lines needed for patients who need medical attention. The plan is to soon have several thousand vaccination providers available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
What should I do after I have an appointment?
Continue to wear a mask in public. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands often – even after you receive the vaccine.