State Opens COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to Food Processing Workers

Mar 3, 2021

As we near the one year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic's arrival in Arkansas, more Arkansans are becoming eligible for vaccinations. During his weekly coronavirus response briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson expanded the current phase 1B of the state's vaccine rollout to food processing workers, which will make an additional 49,000 people eligible for the shot. Last month, the governor expanded vaccine eligibility to people between the ages of 65 and 70. Restaurant workers remain off the list even though many of the previous health directives, now guidelines, come into play at restaurants and bars. Hutchinson said the state is not yet prepared to administer vaccines to that group, but he believes it's closing in on its goal to finish the 1B vaccination by the end of this month. After the governor's briefing yesterday, President Joe Biden announced the federal government expects to have all adults wanting a shot vaccinated by the end of May. Arkansas is expecting to receive an additional 2,500 to 3,000 Moderna and Pfizer vaccine doses weekly in addition to 24,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The governor also pledged to make vaccines more available in rural parts of the state. The state has also confirmed its first case of a COVID-19 variant from the U.K., but Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said that wasn't an unexpected development. To watch the full briefing, click here.