Local pharmacies bring vaccine to neighborhoods, targeting minority communities

Pharmacies in Arkansas are bringing the vaccine directly to minority communities as African American and Latinx groups get vaccinated at a slower rate.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Pharmacies in Saline County are bringing the vaccine directly to minority communities as African American and LatinX groups get vaccinated at a slower rate.

African Americans make up about 15% of Arkansas’ population, yet just 10% of the distributed vaccine has gone to them.

“I think part of it is accessed because everything is so computerized, and you have to have internet,” Robin Freeman said.

Ralph Bunche is a small neighborhood in Benton with about 300 people. Robin Freeman lives there and has concerns her neighbors are not getting vaccinated.

“Just talking to the few people that came out here tonight, they have said ‘I’m not vaccinated,’ so clearly there’s a need,” Freeman said.

That’s why Tuesday, Smith Caldwell Drug and Westside Pharmacy came out to the local park to meet people and sign them up for a mass clinic this Saturday.

“So we want to make it as easy as possible, remove any barriers,” Freeman said.

Pharmacists answered any questions. Freeman believes this will make a difference if someone has any fears or misinformation about the vaccine.

“Having the opportunity to converse and ask your questions privately really is important to getting more people in the African American community vaccinated,” she said.

Rosa Rasvuerry works for Smith Caldwell Drug. She came out to interpret Spanish, as the Latinx community is also getting vaccinated at a slower rate.

“There is not enough information out there and maybe perhaps they do not have access to pharmacies,” she said.

The mass vaccination clinic will take place on Saturday right in the middle of the Ralph Bunche neighborhood.

“The kids can come and enjoy the playground equipment,” Freeman said.

Freeman hopes having the vaccine accessible to the neighborhood will encourage everyone 16 and up to come out.

“Our pharmacists are ready and willing to vaccinate all 300,” she said.

Two clinics on Saturday will go from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Ralph Bunche Community Center and at Westside Pharmacy. Walk-ins are welcome. Spanish interpreters will be available.

The Pfizer vaccine will be given, so a second clinic will be held for the second dose on May 1.