Expanding Phase 1B to Arkansans 65+ may make it harder on those 70+

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“I’ve waited six weeks all together, and I still haven’t heard from anyone.”

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Hutchinson announced the state is expanding Phase 1B to those 65 and older, and some fear it might make it more challenging for those who are already in the group.

On Tuesday, February 23, state officials announced the age threshold for those in Phase 1B has been lowered from 70 to 65.

14 percent of 70-year-olds and older have been fully vaccinated.

DR. JOSE ROMERO, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SECRETARY

Which now makes 115,000 more Arkansans eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is a large chunk, but we want to keep the demand for our vaccinations active,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said.

KNWA/FOX 24 spoke to 71-year-old Bernice Brandon of Bentonville who has underlying health conditions.

“It’s kind of scary for me,” she said.

Brandon lives alone and has limited internet access, which makes it difficult for her to know which places have the vaccine or not.

I’ve been trying at multiple places and I still haven’t gotten the shot. 

BERNICE BRANDON, 71-YEAR-OLD BENTONVILLE WOMAN 

Her family and neighbors have even stepped in to try and help her get an appointment.

“It’s just very hard to find someone who can give it and then the waiting list is 2 miles long,” she said. “That’s very frustrating and can make you very unhappy.”

KNWA/FOX 24 asked the governor what he wanted to say to Arkansans who are having a tough time getting the vaccine.

He said at his briefing on Tuesday, “Continue to work on it, be patient, there’s a great demand for that and with added 65 plus, there’s even going to be more demand, but we’ve got to continue to work together to make sure they have that opportunity.”

Brandon and her friends and family will continue to do just that, as they have for months now.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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