Governor announces more availability for booster shots in Arkansas

State of Arkansas

More people in Arkansas can get a COVID-19 booster shot, said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday.

The governor said all Arkansans 18 and older are now eligible for a booster, so long as it has been at least six months since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Hutchinson said the decision to expand the booster program was made in consultation with Arkansas Secretary of Health Jose Romero.

Boosters had previously been available only to individuals 65 years old and older, those living in a long-term care setting, people 18 and older with certain health conditions or those whose occupation put them at a higher risk of coming into contact with the virus.

The governor said that he hoped the change would make it easier to understand who was eligible for a booster, and would result in more Arkansans receiving their shot.

“The data indicates that the effectiveness of the vaccine deteriorates over time, and that is the reason for the booster,” Hutchinson said. “We want to make sure everyone that is 18 and older is eligible and is encouraged to get the booster.

“This is a change in policy that we’re implementing here in Arkansas. I think it will eliminate some confusion, and also encourage everyone across the board that meets this criteria to go get this booster shot. That is the best protection from the virus and from serious health consequences,” he said.

Case update

Hutchinson announced that COVID-19 cases in Arkansas increased by 151 on Monday.

The governor announced 12 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the state as a result of the pandemic to 8,579.

Hospitalizations were flat, bringing the total number of patients hospitalized in the state to 282.

There are currently 59 patients in the state on ventilators, up one from the day previous.

There are 4,785 cases of COVID-19 considered active in the state, which includes those that have tested positive by both PCR and antigen testing methods.

The new cases bring the total cumulative count in Arkansas to 519,911 since the pandemic began.

Hutchinson that 2,769 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, bringing the total number of doses given by the state to 4297,860. The state lists 304,645 as partially immunized, and 1,421,492 individuals as fully immunized.

All Arkansans 5 and older are currently eligible for a vaccine, and as we mentioned above, any Arkansan over 18 who got their initial does of Pfizer/Moderna six months ago, or Johnson & Johnson two months ago is eligible for a booster.

Those who need assistance locating a vaccine can call 1-800-985-6030.