COVID-19 Vaccine

Courtesy / Arkansas Secretary of State

Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston released a statement saying he will not require Secretary of State employees to be vaccinated nor will he require proof of negative COVID tests. This comes on the heels of President Joe Biden instating a vaccine mandate for all employers with 100 or more employees, which would include Thurton's office. Thurston said he considers President Biden's mandate a "massive federal overreach."

At the top of our show: weekend reporting for Arkansas and COVID-19, Arkansas reaction to President Biden's vaccine policies and a new ranking for Arkansas football.

Courtesy / ADH

This week FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer and BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine, previously authorized only for emergency use.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also announced plans to provide COVID-19 booster shots to maintain immunity. Dr.

J. Froelich / KUAF

COVID-19 vaccination ID cards are increasingly being required to enter center public and private facilites as well as for travel, as proof. But if not properly protected, vaccine cards can easily become tattered and indecipherable. Arkansas State Archives Director David Ware provides guidance on ways to preserve and protect personal COVID-19 vaccine cards. 

Courtesy / CDC

The highly infectious Delta variant is spreading in rural Carroll County, where vaccination rates remain low. County medical providers are reaching out to residents to encourage immunizaiton. We learn how ECHO, which operates a charity medical clinic in the county is taking measures, as well as Eureka Springs Hospital, with staff on call to deliver mobile Pfizer shots to families or groups by request.

Hukan Nurai / Unspash

As virus numbers rise in Arkansas, the research into the protection provided by COVID-19 antibodies continues.

courtesy / Baptist Health

Arkasnas ranks 48th in the nation for COVID-19 vaccinations - around 35 percent -  and rural populations continue to have disproportionately lower rates. Health officials are now trying to combat misinformation and other barriers to access, as the threat from the delta variant looms. 

Courtesy / CDC

The dangerous COVID-19 Delta variant, one of six emergent novel coronavirus strains circulating the globe, is quickly spreading in Arkansas. Experts warn this variant is the most infectious and deadly so far – especially for unvaccinated Arkansans. 

Courtesy / CDC

Even when fully vaccinated, Arkansans with medical conditions or medical situations that cause them to be immune compromised are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection — so must remain cautious. Fayetteville resident Barry Bennett, who takes immune suppressants and immune modulating drugs, has questions some of which are answered by UAMS infectious disease specialist, Keyur Vyas, M.D.

Since launching in May, a statewide vaccination appointment call center has received approximately 24,000 calls. Although call volume has decreased, an Arkansas Department of Health official say they will continue providing the service.