by: C.C. McCandless
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the Northwest Arkansas Council will offer COVID-19 vaccines to the public at no cost at the Berryville Health & Safety Fair on Saturday, May 21, as part of a statewide initiative to increase vaccination rates in rural communities in Arkansas.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, about 50% of Izard County’s population is fully immunized against COVID-19, and 103 people have died of COVID-19 in Carroll County since the pandemic started.
“We hope we’re nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know there’s more to do so we can protect all Arkansans from becoming seriously ill with the coronavirus,” said Stephanie Kruger, associate director of Community Programs in the UAMS Office of Community Health & Research. “If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, need a booster, or just have questions about the vaccine, we encourage you to come out and see us at the Berryville Health & Safety Fair. We’re not just here to provide vaccines – we want to reach out to the Carroll County community and answer questions so you can make an informed decision about your health care.”
COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to significantly lessen symptoms of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 11,000 people in Arkansas since 2020. While the number of cases in Arkansas continues to decline, protection against the virus is encouraged by medical officials to avoid serious illness or death.
COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone five years of age and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots are available to anyone 12 years and older, and the Moderna shots are available to anyone 18 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend booster shots for persons five months after their initial series of vaccines.