Governor Lays Out State's Vaccination Plan and Timeline

Jan 6, 2021

In his first coronavirus response briefing of the new year, Governor Asa Hutchinson began by laying out the state's plan and timeline for vaccinating people in groups 1A, 1B, 1C and eventually the general public. Vaccinations for group 1A got underway before the holidays. That group includes high-priority healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and resident. The governor also expanded the first round of vaccinations to first responders bringing the total of Arkansans eligible for the vaccine to 180,000. The state's goal is to have group 1A vaccinated by the end of January and then to move on to group 1B, which includes people who are 70 and older, as well as essential workers, like teachers and grocery store workers. Hutchinson said he hopes to have group 1B vaccinated within 60 days. The Arkansas Emergency Management Division director and National Guard general will help plan the vaccination initative for groups 1B and 1C and the general public in coordination with the state Department of Health and the private sector. The plan will be made available on the state's website by Jan. 15. The governor also provided an update on how many people have been vaccinated so far, which is being shared on the ADH website along with daily COVID-19 case data. Dr. Cam Patterson, the chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero also discussed the strain on the state's healthcare system, which is currently caring for nearly 1,500 Arkansans who've been hospitalized because of the virus. Patterson said the system is stressed, but not breaking, although all of the state's hospitals are stretched thin. Hutchinson was also asked about additional restrictions. He said he's not considering any because the new COVID-19 cases are the result of family and social gatherings, not workplaces. Arkansas Secretary of Education Johnny Key provided an update on coronavirus emergency leave for teachers and schools staff, as well as the state's plan for standarized testing. To listen to the full briefing, click here.