COVID-19 Vaccine Phases Announced

Ken McLemore

HOPE – The Arkansas Department of Health has begun high priority vaccinations for the COVID-19 illness in what will be a three-phased approach already involving the Hope Public Schools.
The first phase of vaccinations currently ongoing include K-12 public school health clinics and school nurses among high priority groups who will be involved in the further distribution of the vaccine, according to the ADH timeline.
“Phase timelines and priority groups may vary based on available vaccine supply and medical need,” the ADH said. “As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will update the COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for priority groups to be vaccinated next.”
Teachers and school staff are listed by ADH as among the “frontline essential workers” scheduled in the February administration of the vaccine. Also, residents who are age 70 and older will qualify for the February administration, and residents ages 65-69, along with those ages 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, will qualify for the third phase administration in April.
“Check with your local pharmacy, primary care provider or local health unit when COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available in your area,” the ADH said.
Continued best practices under ADH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols are encouraged by the ADH throughout the period of COVID-19 response.
Those protocols include best practices recognized by the Hope Public Schools including: –Wash/sanitize hands frequently.
–Wear a mask in public and at HPS campuses and facilities, and on school buses.
–Observe social distancing of six feet or more at HPS campuses and facilities, and on school buses where possible.
–If you or someone in your family has been tested, stay home until test results have been received.
–If you or someone in your family has tested positive for COVID-19, stay home.

–HPS students who stay home as a result of COVID-19 symptoms, testing, family testing or family positives should notify their campus office.
Symptoms of COVID-19 for which a student should stay home from school include:
–Fever or chills. 

–Persistent cough.
–Persistent shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
–Persistent fatigue.
–Muscle or body aches.
–Persistent headache.
–Recent loss of smell or taste.
–Persistent sore throat.
–Congestion or runny nose.
–Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Additional information regarding Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and availability of vaccines is available on the HPS district website at online. 

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