East Arkansas Community College leads the state's community colleges in the percentage of faculty who are fully immunized against COVID-19, according to data released Wednesday from the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE).
With 68.75% of faculty fully immunized, EACC had a greater percentage of fully vaccinated faculty than any other two-year college. ADHE conducted a records match between Arkansas institutions of higher education's full-time faculty and Arkansas' vaccination database. Participation in the data match was voluntary for institutions, and no individual vaccination records were shared with the participating institutions.
Of the 35 participating institutions, including public and private, two-year and four-year, EACC trailed only the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (73.41%), Arkansas Tech University (73.72%), and the University of Central Arkansas (75.08%) in the percentage of faculty who are fully immunized against COVID.
Phillips County Community College in Helena came in second behind EACC out of 18 community colleges who participated in the data match, with 68.45% of PCCUA faculty fully vaccinated. The lowest fully immunized faculty vaccination rate was Arkansas State University Mid-South in West Memphis at 44.29%. Other area vaccination rates among higher education faculty include Arkansas State University - Newport at 62.16% and Arkansas State University - Jonesboro at 64.59%, with both institutions trailing EACC in vaccination rates for faculty.
"We have had no major outbreaks of COVID on campus and have never shut down in-person instruction. I think this underscores the effectiveness of our vaccination efforts," said Dr. Cathie Cline, President of EACC.
"This is evidence of EACC's faculty commitment to our students and our faculty's willingness to do whatever it takes to put our students first. Our faculty care about their students and their health, and want to be here to teach. EACC's vaccination rate was achieved without having to incentivize faculty financially. They did it because it was the right thing to do," Cline explained.
"Our strong vaccination rates and the health of our faculty meant we were able to offer more freedom to students and employees this fall through a less restrictive mask policy than most institutions of higher education," Cline added.
"I appreciate the willingness and hard work of Forrest City Family Pharmacy, Palestine Family Pharmacy, and our staff member, Carly Dillard, for coordinating the various COVID vaccination clinics on our campus. Achieving the high percentages of vaccinated individuals on our campus would not have been possible without the collaboration between our staff and local pharmacists," said Cline.