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Hutchinson: First round of Covid-19 vaccines will cover 40% of health workers



Arkansas – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday said the state’s first round of COVID-19 vaccines will cover about 40 percent of health workers and that he’s not considering any vaccine mandates.

Hutchinson said the Pfizer vaccine will be sent to Arkansas hospitals and the Moderna vaccine will go to long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

“Hospitals will have to make decisions based upon some guidance that we provide them as to how they prioritize that first round for their hospital workers and their staff,” Hutchinson said. “The same thing will be true in the nursing homes, that the initial shipment will not cover everyone, but we will soon get more shipments to cover everyone, so there’s going to have to be some initial prioritization.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could approve Pfizer’s vaccine for use today. Hutchinson said that if that happens, the first shipments could arrive at Arkansas hospitals Friday.

Moderna’s vaccine could be approved for use next week.

Hutchinson said Arkansans should take the vaccine when it becomes available but he is not considering any mandates.

“This is something we want people to do voluntarily, but it’s necessary,” he said.

Hutchinson said he and the first lady will be vaccinated “when it’s their turn” to demonstrate their confidence in the vaccine.

Hutchinson was in Springdale on Wednesday for the second of three community meetings this week on the pandemic. At a meeting in Benton, he told elected officials and health workers that he’s considering requiring state approval for certain gatherings of more than 10 people.

The third community meeting was scheduled for this morning in Jonesboro.

Hutchinson plans to address the state tonight at 7 p.m. on Channel 7 amid a surge in new virus cases.

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