HARRISON, Ar.- The CEO of North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, Vincent Leist, says he is expecting to receive an unknown number of COVID-19 vaccines as part of the initial 25,000 to be distributed across the state.
“Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Leist. “There is the possibility that one or many of these vaccines will be very effective.”
But even though Leist says he is hopeful these vaccines will help, he says he is worried another potential spike in cases could occur in the next few weeks.
Liest believes many local families may have not adhered to the CDC’s recommendation to not hold gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“There was a moderate amount of compliance to wearing masks, staying home, social distancing, but I think the absence of full compliance will create a huge amount of cases in the next 10 days,” said Liest. “I hope I’m wrong, but all the evidence would point to the fact that a lot of people got together and that’s how this disease spreads.”
Leist adds that there is no official plan yet for who will receive the first vaccinations in the state, but he believes it will be the medical professionals providing direct patient care.
Last week, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Hospital Association completed an inventory of every medical worker in the state to prepare for the initial distribution of the vaccines.