Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday there are one million people vaccinated against COVID-19 in the state, but that is not enough.
His remarks came during his weekly media briefing, which focused on COVID-19. The Arkansas Department of Health reported 270 new COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, and an increase of 55 hospitalizations in the state, which is the largest increase seen since January.
Hutchinson announced strategies designed to persuade more Arkansans to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He urged businesses to allow paid time off for workers so that they can get the vaccine, or if they end up taking time off because of any side effects from being vaccinated. He also said the state can make vaccinations available at work places if needed, and announced that he would be participating in Community COVID Conversations around the state to talk about the importance of getting the vaccine.
Arkansas Secretary of Health, Dr. Jose Romero said Tuesday that the latest Delta variant of COVID-19 is 30 percent to 50 percent more transmissible than the other variants the state has dealt with, and that unless a person has received full immunization, or two shots instead of just one when required, they are only 30 percent protected from contracting COVID-19.
Besides being more contagious, the Delta variant has caused younger people to become more ill than from the previous forms of the virus. Romero said getting more adults fully vaccinated will protect younger children who are not able to be immunized against COVID-19 yet.
Hutchinson said the state want’s the highest vaccination rate possible among those eligible by the time school starts around the state next month.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 8,914 COVID-19 immunizations have been administered in Jackson County, and 28.8 percent of the population has been fully immunized, while 4.6 percent of the population has been partially immunized.