NWA Council mass vaccination clinic this weekend to serve as trial run for future events

J.B. Hunt Headquarters in Lowell / Courtesy, J.B. Hunt

The Northwest Arkansas Council will host a mass vaccination clinic in Lowell this weekend to inoculate about 3,000 Benton County seniors, and officials say the event is a trial run to prepare for more large-scale events in the region.

The clinic will take place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 in the parking lot of J.B. Hunt headquarters in Lowell.

The clinic is being jointly organized by the NWA Council along with several Northwest Arkansas health care systems and major employers, the NWA Council website says.

Currently in Arkansas, health care workers, workers in education, and residents 65 and older are eligible for a vaccine, but this weekend’s event in Lowell is reserved only for Benton County residents 70 and older who Arkansas Department of Health officials say are lagging behind other regions at the moment.

Fayetteville Public Heath officer Marti Sharkey told Fayetteville Board of Health members on Wednesday that the clinic will serve as a model for future, similar events.

“We are gooing to try to vaccinate 3,000 people in a day, and develop a playbook on how that is to be done,” she said. “The plan is to prove NWA worthy, and get more vaccine in our corner of the state to keep it moving forward with more such events, even having a semi permanent event space hopefully set up in Fayetteville in the future.”

Volunteers from hospitals all over the region are scheduled to work this weekend’s event, Sharkey said, and J.B. Hunt will be offering support on the logistics side of things.

Ryan Cork, recently hired as executive director for Northwest Arkansas Council’s healthcare efforts, said the council will be working to create a database of volunteers to work similar events in the future.

“We are creating a centralized database of all volunteers that have expressed interest in working,” he said. “Our goal would be able to demonstrate that we can do this successfully, and ask for allotments to give out and systematically tic away at those who are eligible (in the future).”

Cork said this weekend’s clinic will be distributing the Moderna vaccine.

Interpreters will be on hand at the event for Spanish and Marshallese speaking residents, he said.

To check eligibility or register for this weekend’s event, visit nwacouncil.org/covidvaccine. Registration is also available by calling 833-364-6777.