Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero updates on COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There is now the potential for a third Covid-19 vaccine, according to Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero.  At the Governor’s weekly Covid-19 update Romero also noted that one vaccine is headed for review to the FDA on December 10 for emergency use.  If approved by the FDA then it will head to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritization and safety. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson said how much vaccine the state gets depends on which one gets approved, “I think it depends, the first one and which vaccine gets the approval first, what is your volume of production and then the federal government will actually make the allocation and then once we know the allocation then we will be able to prioritize and know where that goes.”

The federal government will disperse the vaccine based on per capita to the states.  Dr. Romero said, “Once they have been approved by both the FDA in the ACIP and they will be shipped to the states we will receive an allotment. That allotment will not be enough to cover the entire state and it will be the beginning of vaccination of our healthcare providers and high-risk individuals but again will not be sufficient for everybody within the state.”

Dr. Romero said the state is planning on an initial allotment of 45,000-90,000 doses of a vaccine.  Healthcare workers will and patients who are considered high-risk will receive priority in that allotment.  Dr. Romero said that prioritizing with healthcare workers is also likely considering the number of vaccines the state receives.  He said it will depend on how ACIP says to prioritize things with hospital workers and those who work in long-term care facilities.

Dr. Romero said that lower tiers include teachers, those who work in correctional institutions, and other people who ‘keep society going’.

It could be early Summer until the vaccine is available for the general public Dr. Romero said, “We should be receiving more and more vaccine over the first few months but it will not be until either the second quarter or beginning of the third quarter of next year that we have enough for everybody.”

Governor Hutchinson said he will not mandate any specific group to get the vaccine but says the state will do it’s best to market it and encourage people to get the vaccine.

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