Officials are challenging Arkansans to lift the COVID-19 vaccination rate in the state.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the state was setting a goal of having 50 percent of the state’s population receive at least one vaccine dose in the next 90 days. He told reporters during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that he expected the effort to be a “big challenge” but one that would position the state well in the future.
“This is important for us to set this goal because we want to look at the future for a moment. Ninety days will put us right at July 31. We’re probably three weeks out from school starting, football starting. At that point, if we reach our goal, if we reach our goal, 50 percent of the entire Arkansas population will have at least one shot,” he said.
According to data provided by the Governor’s Office, there are currently 1,038,556 individuals in Arkansas who have received at least one shot. This represents 34 percent of the state’s population.
To reach the 50 percent goal, 467,206 more Arkansans must have at least one shot in the coming 90 days.
The latest Arkansas Department of Health report shows that there have been 768,130 individuals in Arkansas who have been fully immunized and 270,426 individuals who have been partially immunized. The state has given out 1,751,620 vaccine doses out of a total 2,525,070 doses received.
Hutchinson noted that the COVID vaccine goal was higher than the typical statistics for the flu vaccine. In 2020, the flu vaccination rate was 54.9 percent, he said, compared to a a normal year of approximately 40-50 percent. “We’re setting the goal for COVID vaccination even higher than what we normally do to avoid the flu. It’s a challenge for us. It’s a far-reaching goal but a very critical goal that helps us to really pinpoint what we need to do over the next 90 days,” he said.
Each county will have a specific numerical goal to reach to help the state reach its overall vaccination goal of 50 percent. Hutchinson provided the graph below to illustrate the percentages that will be required to meet the goal.
“Obviously, we want to get it higher than that,” Hutchinson said. “But it starts with this simple, foundational goal, and it’s going to take a lot of work from all Arkansans and the communities to get 467,000 more Arkansans vaccinated.”