Jasper district staff receive COVID-19 vaccine

Jessica Graddy, R.N., of North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Tresa Yarbrough, Oark School media specialist, during a vaccination clinic held at the Jasper School campus Wednesday morning. Jasper School Nurse Tina James, LPN, said 80 school district staff were signed up for the clinic, mostly from the Jasper and Kinston schools. Rose Drug in Clarksville, a Johnson County pharmacy, provided a similar clinic Tuesday at the Oark School campus.

JASPER — Tina James, LPN, Jasper School nurse, was excited to see school district staff members receive the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning, Jan. 20, at the school. She said the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was administered by nurses from North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison which is a regional distribution point authorized by the Arkansas Department of Health. "I am so thankful to NARMC," said James. She said she approached the hospital about getting the vaccine.

Hospital personnel with the vaccine arrived Wednesday morning and began administering the injections around 9 a.m.

About 80 staff members from the three schools in the district signed up to receive the primary injections, James said. Most were from the Jasper and Kingston campuses as Rose Drug in Clarksville,  a Johnson County pharmacy, provided a similar clinic Tuesday at the Oark School campus.

Tresa Yarbrough, media specialist at Oark School was one of the staff members getting the vaccine Wednesday morning in the multipurpose room in the Jasper auditorium Wednesday. She said she felt she was being a part of history getting the vaccine. It was administered by Jessica Graddy,  BSN, RN.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced last week that the state was ready to move into two categories of 1-B. Those categories include people ages 70 and over, as well as K-12 and higher education staff and teachers and daycare workers.

Hutchinson said the plan to begin vaccinating those individuals was Monday, Jan. 18.

For schools and daycares, districts should determine how many doses are needed, the governor said, then, reach out to the local health unit or pharmacy in your county to schedule a vaccination clinic.

He went on to say that there are about 132,000 education workers in the state and 311,000 people 70 or older. That could be a heavy lift to add 433,000 potential Arkansans eligible for the vaccination, so prioritization will be necessary.

The staff received the first dose of the vaccine on Wednesday. A second dose will be administered in 21 days, that's Feb. 10.

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COVID-19 COUNTY DATA

Newton County

Total Number of COVID-19 Confirmed Positive Cases — 515

Total Number of Recovered Cases — 478

Total Number of Confirmed Deaths — 22

Jeff Dezort, Newton County Times editor, has worked at the newspaper since 2001. Before that he was a reporter, photographer and assistant editor of the Harrison Daily Times.

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