Governor Hutchinson has activated 20 members of the National Guard to assist in COVID-19 vaccinations in rural areas.

Long overdue.

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Now if he’d go further to get Guard-run mass clinics where big populations are anxious for shots,

The release:

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Governor Asa Hutchinson has activated 20 members of the Arkansas Air and Army National Guard to assist with vaccinations in four public health regions in Arkansas.

“These four teams will administer the vaccines in rural areas, which will reduce the load for medical professionals who are dealing with COVID-19 as well as their regular health care concerns,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This deployment will accelerate our efforts to contain COVID-19 in Arkansas.”

Each of the four teams will include two medics and two personnel to handle logistics and documentation.

Expanding the vaccine program to rural areas will enhance the state’s effort to end the pandemic, Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero said.

“With the assistance of the National Guard, we can better reach rural and remote Arkansans with vaccinations that protect our communities and state from COVID-19,” Dr. Romero continued. “The ADH Local Health Unit staff has been working hard to provide vaccination clinics to their areas, and this assistance will allow them to do that more efficiently while continuing to provide other critical services to Arkansans.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago, we’ve all been anxiously awaiting a return to normality, said Maj. Gen. Kendall Penn, Arkansas’ Adjutant General.

“The Arkansas National Guard is proud to provide teams composed of well-trained medical professionals and support personnel working to assist the Arkansas Department of Health and local health units as part of the Governor’s initiative to expedite vaccine administration.”

The teams will serve Arkansans from four public health regions with clinics in Marianna, Prescott, West Memphis, and Fort Smith.