Mercy Fort Smith celebrated a milestone April 2 when it administered its 20,000th dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Kevin Goff, 20, of Booneville received Mercy Fort Smith’s 20,000th dose during his scheduled appointment. Goff wanted to get the vaccine to protect himself and those he encounters at his job at Walmart in Booneville
“I got it mainly so I don’t get COVID and I don’t spread it to others. Especially with where I work, I’m with customers a lot,” he said.
Arkansas recently expanded vaccine eligibility to include anyone 16 or older, which Goff said was his motivation to receive the vaccine when he did.
The Mercy Fort Smith vaccine clinic now has online scheduling available; those registering can select their date and time when they sign up for the vaccine. Mercy has worked through its earlier vaccine registration lists. Anyone who thought they were registered but hasn’t been contacted can now schedule one of these online appointments. To schedule, go to Mercy.net/FSMVaccine or call 833-364-6777.
As of April 4, Mercy Fort Smith has administered 21,094 doses of the vaccine, and 8,627 individuals have received both the first and second doses. On April 3, Mercy hosted a vaccine clinic at Kimmons Junior High, where 316 individuals received the first dose of the vaccine. Additional outreach clinics are planned.
In describing Mercy’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic, Amy Fore, Mercy Clinic Fort Smith chief operating officer, cited the Sisters of Mercy and their response to the community in times of crisis, whether it was treating people with small pox or caring for wounded soldiers. Today, it’s Mercy co-workers caring for those with COVID-19 and helping with vaccinations in the River Valley.
“The Mercy co-workers and providers across our ministry have done an amazing job during this challenging pandemic,” Fore said. “While we are only one of many in our region that are offering vaccinations, we feel called to do this work and are so excited that so many individuals across the River Valley have received the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Mercy began administering COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec. 15 to frontline co-workers. Dr. Candy Lindsey, ER and trauma director for Mercy’s critical access hospitals in Booneville, Ozark, Paris and Waldron, was the first to receive the vaccination at Mercy Fort Smith that day.
“It is an honor to be a part of vaccinating our community and doing our part to get past this pandemic,” said Michael Nolewajka, executive director of logistics at Mercy Fort Smith. “The team at the vaccine clinic has been wonderful and has developed a streamlined process to get patients through quickly. We are grateful to the community for choosing Mercy for their vaccine.”
Mercy strongly encourages everyone to get vaccinated to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Clinical trials and millions of doses given throughout the U.S. have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective.
Mercy also advises everyone to continue to wear face masks, social distance, avoid gatherings, and thoroughly wash hands throughout the day to stay vigilant against a possible new surge of COVID-19.