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Saline County pharmacies gather to vaccinate school teachers and staff

Up to 1,300 doses of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Saturday to Saline County teachers and staff.

BENTON, Ark. — Six local pharmacies came together to vaccinate Saline County school teachers and staff at the River Center in Benton Saturday. Up to 1,300 doses of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines were administered.

Bryant Family Pharmacy, Harrison Family Pharmacy, Salem Family Pharmacy, Smith Caldwell Drug Store, Finley Pharmacy, and Westside Pharmacy collaborated together on the mass execution. 

"We wanted to get them taken care of in one full swoop on Saturday, so that they don't miss any school. We have them scheduled for their second dose February 13," said John Martin with Bryant Family Pharmacy.

RELATED: Central Arkansas school districts gear up to begin staff COVID-19 vaccinations

Bryant, Benton, Bauxite, Harmony Grove, and Glen Rose school districts were given Pfizer shots. 

Jason Finley is the clinical director for Finley Family Pharmacy and says he's on one of the school boards. He's seen what administrators and teachers have had to deal with and the difficult decisions they've had to make last year.

"We wanna make it to where their decisions get easier, so they can focus on educating our kids. We want to make sure everybody's healthy, so that our school's can be vibrant. So that our societies can get back to some kind of normal," said Finley.

He says with six pharmacies in the area that have somewhat competed against each other, all of that's done because they're working together to serve their community. 

Jennifer Crunbaugh with Salem Pharmacy agrees. She says there's so many people in desperate need of the vaccine.

"I feel so blessed to be able to work with these people here in Saline County and I just want everybody to know that we are going to take care of you. We're going to do the best we can," Crunbaugh said.

Starting at 8 a.m., Bauxite, Glen Rose, and Harmony Grove finished their rounds by 11 a.m. Benton School District went on until the afternoon.

Ray Bob Harrison is with Harrison Family Pharmacy and says the work they're doing is extremely important.

"I've got two small kids. Both of them have had to miss some school because teachers had to quarantine. I think education is very important, so if we can protect our teachers, protect our school staff, our kids can get the education they need," said Harrison.

Christina Kelley with Smith Caldwell Drug Store says she's very proud to be among the five other pharmacists taking care of the Saline County School District's staff.

RELATED: Arkansas pharmacy aims for happy medium in mass COVID-19 vaccination effort

"You know, the children of Saline County, and all of Arkansas and the United States actually are our future, so it's important that they get the education that they deserve and form those relationships and friendships that we were so fortunate to form when we were their age," said Kelley.

She says it's important that the public is getting to see that pharmacists can play a big role in healthcare.