Arkansas reaches vaccine milestone

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced last week that more than one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the state.

“This is a very significant day that should be marked,” Hutchinson said, speaking on Tuesday, March 23, during his weekly news conference in Little Rock.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of last week, Arkansas had received a total of 1,466,950 doses of various vaccines for the novel coronavirus, with 1,008,575 doses — or 68.75 percent — already administered.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Those numbers have risen since then. The Arkansas Department of Health reported Monday that 1,922,880 doses had been received by the state, with 1,090,862 doses administered.

According to the ADH, 384,031 state residents have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus — accounting for two doses each — with an additional 339,502 listed as “partially vaccinated,” meaning they have received the first dose of the vaccine.

Last week, Hutchinson said the difference in totals at the time was because the CDC report includes information the state report does not, including vaccines administered through various federal departments including the Bureau of Prisons and Veterans Affairs.

“If you include all the vaccines that have come into Arkansas, and how many have been administered, it’s over one million,” Hutchinson said, adding that he told ADH director Dr. Jose Romero that he had a goal to be at 1.1 million doses by the end of the month. “We’re getting closer.”

Two weeks ago, Hutchinson fully opened vaccine eligibility to all state residents in Category 1-C, which includes most essential workers who were not part of Phase 1-B and those living in high-risk settings like dormitories or prisons.

Phase 1-C originally was scheduled to begin in April, but the timeline was advanced, in part, because of decreasing demand among those in earlier phases.

Last month, Hutchinson announced he would be easing many of the pandemic restrictions in the state while extending his state-of-emergency declaration through Wednesday. He also pledged to lift the state’s mask mandate Wednesday as long as certain milestones are met regarding the slowing spread of the virus.

According to Monday’s report from the ADH, the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in the state over the past week was 1,274 — down from 1,712 the week before — bringing the state’s overall total to 329,929 cases, including 259,061 lab-confirmed cases, 322,345 reported “recoveries” and 1,945 active cases.

On Monday, the statewide death toll for the virus stood at 5,595 including 48 deaths in the previous seven days.

Locally, the state health department reported seven new cases in Carroll County, bringing the total to 2,747, including 2,692 “recoveries” and 11 active cases.

The number of Carroll County deaths associated with the virus remained at 44.

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