Update (as of April 5, 2021): Vaccination appointments are a little easier to find now for those who are eligible. Click here for a list of vaccination clinics (in Springdale, Fort Smith or Berryville) via the Mercy hospital system.
Info below published on January 19, 2021:
If you’re like me, you’ve been trying to help your parents who are over 70 years old get their Covid-19 vaccinations. According to Arkansas vaccination guidelines, people over the age of 70 are now eligible to receive vaccinations.
If your parents are confused about how to get one, they’re not alone! I researched this process when I scheduled appointments for my parents, and it was NOT easy. I called around until I finally got a pharmacy worker on the phone and he told me that each pharmacy in Northwest Arkansas has their own system for signing people up to get the vaccination. As of right now, there is no centralized way to do this.
Most pharmacies will direct you to their website to sign up on a waiting list, so it’s probably best for you to go directly to each pharmacy’s website and start filling out the online forms to get your parents on every waiting list you can find. (I signed them up on waiting lists in both Benton and Washington County, to improve their chances of getting the vaccination asap.)
Here are the steps to take:
- Get the list of pharmacies in your area by clicking HERE, which takes you to the state of Arkansas government website.
- Sort the list either by city or by county, whichever you prefer. Just click on the headings “County” or “City” at the top of the spreadsheet. (For links to Covid vaccination pharmacy websites in Northwest Arkansas, scroll down for a list of links below.)
- Go to each pharmacy’s website and follow the directions for putting an eligible person on the vaccination waitlist. (Some pharmacies will contact you when they have an opening. Other pharmacies will allow you to choose an upcoming appointment time.)
- Check with your parents’ doctor, too. Request an appointment for a vaccination, if the clinic is giving them.
- When your parents get vaccinated, take a photo of their vaccination card (front and back) so you’ll have an extra copy in case the card gets misplaced. The card will have their date of vaccination, the brand of vaccination, and the Lot Number of their vaccine. It should also have an appointment time for the second vaccination time (usually three to four weeks after the first injection.)
- Make sure your parents get the SAME BRAND of vaccine during their second vaccination appointment.
- Remind your parents that their vaccination will not go into full effect until about two weeks AFTER the second vaccination injection. Masks and avoiding crowds will still be important, even after the vaccination.
A few days after I scheduled appointments for my parents at a pharmacy in NWA, messages from my parents’ medical clinic (Mercy) came via email, letting them know they were eligible for appointments at a vaccination clinic located at Mercy. The appointment time they offered my parents was two weeks earlier than the one I was able to schedule at a pharmacy, so we pounced on the earlier appointment time. (They were vaccinated last Sunday afternoon! Hallelujah! And they’re already scheduled for the second vaccination appointment in early February. They had no adverse reactions.)
If an earlier vaccination appointment becomes available to your parents, be sure to help them cancel the later appointment time so someone else can get it. People who don’t show up for a scheduled vaccination time slow down the process for other people who are still on the waitlist.
Hope this info is helpful to you as you try to help your parents (or any person who is over the age of 70) get scheduled for a Covid vaccination in Northwest Arkansas. It’s so important to keep this high-risk population safe.
To save you some Googling time, here’s a list of the pharmacies (including links to their websites) in Benton and Washington counties. Be aware that a few of these pharmacies are not currently scheduling appointments because they’re swamped with requests.
Check back often and keep checking local news sources as more vaccine supplies become available. This situation will likely change from week to week, so keep checking on all locations in order to get the soonest appointment possible. Don’t get frustrated and give up on it. It’s too important.
Links to Northwest Arkansas Covid-19 Vaccine Pharmacies