District experiences shortage in COVID-19 vaccines

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed over a year ago. With the help of the world’s top researchers and millions of dollars invested, it took under a year to create a COVID-19 vaccine. In Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution, healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities were the first to be vaccinated. On Jan. 18, Arkansas entered Phase 1B, which allows Arkansans 70 or older and anyone who works in education facilities to be vaccinated. English teacher Nancy Ogden described the vaccination process as fast.

“I got my vaccine at Springdale High School,” Ogden said. “There were several stations lined up. You went to the first open station and gave them your paperwork. They gave you the vaccine. I didn’t even feel the shot. After the shot, you sat in a waiting area for fifteen minutes.  Chairs were appropriately spaced. Not counting the waiting period, it took less than ten minutes.”

Few Har-Ber teachers managed to get vaccinated on Wednesday, Jan. 20, due to the vaccine shortage. There were simply not enough vaccines for every person who scheduled an appointment for the week of Jan. 18. 

“I was very disturbed that many of my colleagues were unable to get the vaccine due to shortages,” Ogden said. 

English teacher Leslie Mackin received her vaccination on Jan. 21 at Walgreens on S Thompson St.

“I definitely felt a sense of relief after getting it, but there’s still the apprehension about if there will be enough vaccines for round two in a month,” Mackin said. 

  Nurse Stacy Hubbard plans on receiving her second dose on Friday, Jan. 29. 

“I have been given my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine,” Hubbard said. “My arm was slightly sore for about a day after the first shot. I’m expecting to have a bigger reaction with the second shot which is normal, but it can have more of a reaction on younger people because their immunity is much stronger.”

Community Pharmacy administered Pfizer vaccines to school employees. According to Amanda Higgel, an employee of Community Pharmacy, they gave between 1,300-1,400 doses of the vaccine. There are approximately 200 people on their waiting list for the vaccine. Community Pharmacy received fewer doses of the vaccine than anticipated. 

“There are multiple factors that impact the shortage of vaccines, whether it’s availability, distribution, the limitations of small pharmacies to give mass vaccines or even political barriers,” Hubbard said. “There are a lot of people that need the vaccine and getting it to everyone is not as easy as it sounds in a country as large as ours.”

COVID-19 vaccines have provided a light at the end of the tunnel for people. 

“I have not seen my mom and siblings for over a year,” Ogden said. “Once we have all had the vaccine I will feel confident in visiting them.” 

Additionally, vaccines have given hope for the future.

“I hope that we will see the virus decrease in the rate it’s spreading and a gradual decrease in the severity of its symptoms for those at high risk so we can all live without fear, embrace each other again and be free of the emotional and psychological trauma that’s affected all elements of not only our community but the world,” Hubbard said. “Until that day gets here, may we remember it’s not just what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others that defines our society.”