Gov. Hutchinson opens all of Phase 1-B vaccine group
Updated: Mar 17
CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark- Now, 180,000 people across the state can receive their coronavirus vaccine.
Gov. Hutchinson announces this week that the coronavirus vaccine is now open to all Arkansans in the Phase 1-B group.
Previously, only half of the group was eligible to be vaccinated.
“We want to open it up more fully today to all the categories in 1-B. Which; will primarily include those that are in manufacturing facilities, which is a great need we have. As well as transportation and other essential categories,” says Gov. Hutchinson.
Food and agriculture, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, essential government, grocery store/meal delivery, public transit, houses of worship, postal/package delivery service, and manufacturing, now join the list of groups eligible for the vaccine.
NEA Baptist pharmacist Lynette Chastain encourages everyone to get the vaccine once eligible due to its success in FDA trials.
“Absolutely zero patients died of Covid-19 that had the vaccine. So that is- that’s huge, that’s 28 days after vaccination,” says Chastain. “So, I think it’s effective. It does what we want it to do, which is to keep us all out of the hospital. We don’t want to see our family members in the hospital; we don’t want to be there. So, I think that whichever vaccine you can get, that would be great.”
Gov. Hutchinson says the change to open to all of Phase 1-B comes as appointments were becoming hard to fill.
Mentioning the mass vaccine clinic held last weekend in Jonesboro that vaccinated 1,700 people but prepared for 3,000.
“We have to keep the demand for the vaccines up. We have to keep the lines full. Because people want access to the vaccines and, we wanna make sure we get them out as fast as we can...” “… In order to do that, we are continuing to open up the new categories,” says Gov. Hutchinson.
Moving forward, the governor plans to open the Phase 1-C vaccine group in April.
It will include people 16 and up that are “high risk”, and essential workers not in phase 1-B.
Chastain encourages one to reach out to their health care provider or the NEA Baptist pharmacy if they have questions about the vaccine.
A new statewide vaccine call center is now open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help people book their appointments.
You can reach the center by calling 1-800-985-6030.