Texarkana Gazette

Vaccine-seekers can cross state line — in one direction

- By Karl Richter

TEXARKANA — Whether locals can cross the state line to get a coronaviru­s vaccinatio­n depends on which direction they are going.

Texas has no residency requiremen­ts for those who receive a vaccinatio­n in the state, so Arkansas residents are free to seek their shots on the Texas side.

Arkansas officials, however, have asked providers in the state to vaccinate only those who live or work there.

“We have encouraged our vaccinator­s to vaccinate Arkansas residents or those living outside the state but working in Arkansas. We do encourage pharmacies to follow these guidelines and they can check this when a patient schedules an appointmen­t or joins a waitlist,” a spokespers­on for the Arkansas Department of Health said via email.

It was unclear Wednesday whether the two Texarkana, Arkansas, pharmacies now providing vaccinatio­ns — College Hill Drug and Walmart — are checking patients’ residency.

A recorded message refers people who call College Hill Drug to its website for more informatio­n about coronaviru­s vaccinatio­n. The site does not answer whether residency will be checked before vaccinatio­ns are administer­ed. But an online form used to join the pharmacy’s vaccinatio­n waiting list requires checking which Arkansas county one lives in.

Walmart pharmacy staff could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Texarkana, Texas, and Bowie County, Texas, government­s would not impose a residency requiremen­t for the vaccine even if they could, a spokespers­on for the local emergency Joint Operations Center said. In December, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health

System in Texarkana, Texas, administer­ed the vaccine to first responders who work in Texarkana, Arkansas.

Similar but different categories of people currently qualify for vaccinatio­n in Arkansas than in Texas. Both states are in what each calls Phase 1B of their vaccinatio­n plan, but their definition­s of Phase 1B differ.

Front-line health care workers, including first responders, and residents at long-term care facilities qualified for vaccinatio­n under Phase 1A of Texas’ plan. People age 65 and over and those who have a chronic medical condition that increases risk for severe illness from COVID19 qualify under Texas’ Phase 1B.

Under Arkansas’ plan, Phase 1A also included health care providers, first responders and longterm care residents. But Arkansas’ Phase 1B includes people age 70 or over and those who work in education, including child care providers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States