Covid vaccine eligibility expands

With a significant stockpile on hand, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday that eligibility for the Covid vaccine would be expanded to include 1C.

That adds nearly a million people to the group who can now receive the vaccine and includes those 16 and over with health conditions and expands the number of industries that are now included.

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This follows an announcement from President Joe Biden that vaccine eligibility would be expanded nationally on May 1 to anyone who wants the shot.

Neighboring states Texas and Mississippi also expanded vaccine access this week while in Oklahoma, the Native American tribes opened up to include anyone living in the state to get the vaccine in the various nations in eastern Oklahoma and along the Arkansas state line.

Hutchinson had previously limited covid vaccination eligibility to those 65 and older.

That had led some younger Arkansans seeking the vaccine in other states.

Among those included in 1C are college students living in dorms and Greek housing, along with those in jail and prison since all are examples of congregant living.

Arkansas has received roughly 1.5 million vaccine doses and given a little more than 850,000 with about 300,000 people, or 10 percent of the state’s population has received two doses to be fully immunized.

Hutchinson had previously lifted most pandemic restrictions earlier this month and has set March 31 as the day when mask mandates will be lifted, if certain goals are met.