Hutchinson says state is ready to go for vaccine for kids – Arkansas Times

Governor Hutchinson, at a weekly news briefing, said Arkansas is well prepared to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine from children 5-11. Approval is expected today. Arkansas Department of Health Local Health Units already have the vaccine. Parents should be able to call and get their children appointments as soon as today. Local pediatric providers will get shots likely later this week, Hutchinson said, followed by pharmacies and other clinics.
Health Secretary Jose Romero urged parents to call and seek appointments with health units or private clinics. Not all pediatricians will be administering the shot, he said.
The state will receive 110,000 doses in the initial rollout, Romero said. There are around 271,000 5-11-year-olds in Arkansas.
The vaccine for children “has been shown to be safe and efficacious,” and will be studied by public health experts well into the future, Romero said. Children were hard hit during the summer surge of the Delta variant and need protection, he said.
Hutchinson stressed that that neither the Department of Education or the state would mandate the vaccine in children. He said he didn’t have a goal in mind for children receiving the vaccine, but said the state would track the progress of the 5-11 group with the 12-18. Forty percent of the latter group is fully immunized; 50% has received at least one shot.

 

 
 
In other news, Hutchinson celebrated today’s state revenue report, which shows Arkansas $15.8 million above a revised forecast. “To be above that revised forecast is good news for our state and reflects the strength of our economic recovery that we see,” Hutchinson said.
The governor will travel to Israel Saturday through next week for the first overseas economic development trip he’s taken since the onset of the pandemic. He’s attending a “smart mobility” conference. Smart mobility encompasses everything from automated cars to ride sharing to delivery drones.
Cases
New cases: 641 news cases (up from last week)
Total active cases: 4,490 (up 70)
Deaths: 8,412 (up 28)
Vaccinations in last 24 hours: 10,327 (21 percent first doses)
Hospitalizations: 325 (down 6)
After a long decline, cases appear to be plateauing. What’s that mean? Romero said the reason the decline hasn’t been as rapid as it was in the initial wave is because of the more transmissible Delta variant.
Special session
It’s not happening until sometime after Thanksgiving. Why the delay? Hutchinson said he’d reached an agreement with legislative leaders, but now vote counting needs to happen. Before a date is scheduled, the tax package needs broad support, Hutchinson said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping all aspects of life in Arkansas. We’re interested in hearing from doctors, nurses and other health care workers; from patients and their families; from people in longterm care facilities and their families; from parents and students affected by the crisis; from people who have lost their job; from people with knowledge of workplaces or communities that aren’t taking appropriate measures to slow the spread of the disease; and more.
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