ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced changes to the state’s current COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan to get more Arkansans vaccinated, but UAMS models suggest it won’t be enough to slow the spread for at least the next few months.
We know that the vaccine is not going to make a significant difference in the numbers until we have large numbers of vaccinations.MARK WILLIAMS, DEAN, UAMS COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Governor Hutchinson said Tuesday, January 12, the state will accelerate vaccine distribution for those in education and Arkansans 70 and older.
The Trump Administration also announced on Tuesday it was changing its vaccination rollout plan, urging states to start vaccination “mega-sites”.
Hutchinson agrees with the idea, but said now is not the time.
“It would not be good to have War Memorial Stadium used as a mass distribution center when you’ve only got a limited supply of doses,” Gov. Hutchinson said.
No matter what the state does though, UAMS College of Public Health Dean, Mark Williams, said it won’t help bring COVID-19 numbers down over the next few months.
We’re not vaccinating, even in high-risk groups, at a high enough rate that it will impact the transmission of the virus.MARK WILLIAMS, DEAN, UAMS COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Williams said he is hopeful the state will pick up speed soon.
“We’re going to continue to be in what some epidemiologist and public health officials have called this bad winter of 2021,” he said. “It’s not something we can hide from any more or ignore.”
As of now, Williams said the state hasn’t experienced a breakdown in the healthcare system, but we may not be far from it.