Local healthcare providers distributed 553 Covid-19 vaccines across three University of Arkansas at Monticello campuses the first week of February.

University employees received vaccinations facilitated by Mainline Health Systems, City Drug, and the Prescription Pad Pharmacy in Monticello, Crossett and McGehee.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson included the higher education industry in category 1B of the state vaccine distribution schedule.

At UAM, 317 employees opted to receive their vaccinations during the on-campus clinics. Pharmacies also sent individuals from their respective vaccine waiting lists to the Monticello campus clinic to expedite vaccine distribution in the area.

State Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, R-Hermitage, who serves on the Arkansas House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, said vaccine clinics like the one conducted at UAM are vital, collaborative efforts.

“Community partnerships are essential in the rollout of this vaccine,” Wardlaw said. “In Monticello, we were able to work together to connect supplies with our enthusiastic providers and pharmacies, getting hundreds vaccinated quickly and smoothly.”

UAM Chancellor Peggy Doss expressed her gratitude for Wardlaw, Mainline Health Systems, and the local pharmacies that made the clinic possible.

“Anything we can do to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect our employees and community is a worthy effort,” Doss said. “I am grateful to each member of our faculty and staff for continuing their widespread support of prevention practices, masking, social distancing, sanitizing, and now, choosing to get vaccinated. It is an example of team effort and that extends beyond our campuses.”

Doss said Alan Nichols, CEO of Mainline Health Systems, along with pharmacist Nikki Hood of City Drug and pharmacist Brian Smith of the Prescription Pad Pharmacy, made sure UAM employees were a priority.

“It is a testament to the strength of partnerships in southeast Arkansas and how we can seamlessly work together to meet the needs of our region,” Doss said.