State reaches vaccine milestone

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday 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 during his weekly news conference in Little Rock.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas has 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

The Arkansas Department of Health reported Tuesday that 1,756,800 doses had been received by the state, with 978,784 doses administered.

Hutchinson said the difference in totals is because the CDC report includes information the state report does not, including those 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.”

Last week, 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 March 31. He also pledged to lift the state’s mask mandate on March 31 as long as certain milestones are met regarding the slowing spread of the virus.

According to Tuesday’s report from the ADH, the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in the state over the past week was 1,886 — down from 2,109 the week before — bringing the state’s overall total to 328,946 cases, including 258,383 lab-confirmed, 321,093 reported “recoveries” and 2,263 active cases.

On Tuesday, the statewide death toll for the virus stood at 5,547, including 66 deaths in the previous seven days.

Locally, the state health department reported five new cases in Carroll County, bringing the total to 2,740, including 2,690 “recoveries” and six active cases.

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

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