Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Sunday lamented the partisan divide on coronavirus vaccinations, saying the only way to combat hesitation about the shots is with “truth.”
In an interview on ABC News’ "This Week,” Hutchinson said President Joe Biden’s plan to go door-to-door to encourage vaccinations is hitting resistance because “no one wants an agent knocking” on their door.
“There shouldn't be a partisan divide first of all,” he said. “Clearly conservative are more hesitant about government authority. That's just the nature of it. In the southern states and some rural states, you have a more conservative approach, skepticism about government.
“And we just have to answer it like we have all through history — that you overcome skepticism and mistrust by truth. You overcome resistance and obstinance with saying it's important for our community, it's important for the health of our state and nation,” he added.
“We have to overcome that mistrust because …Republicans, Democrats, we all suffer the same consequence if the delta variant hits us and we're not vaccinated,” he said.
According to Hutchinson, Biden’s door-to-door response to increase vaccinations is “nothing dramatic.”
“Long before President Biden said that, we have community organizations that's helping us. We have churches going into homes. We have people that go in to those that are bedridden so they can have access to the vaccine,” he said.
“There's nothing dramatic about what the president said in itself,” he continued. “No one wants an agent knocking on a door. … We want our churches involved. We want our communities, organizations — if it means going into a community door-by-door and letting them know of this, then that's okay.”
Despite rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, Hutchinson said he won’t call for a mask mandate, including in schools.
“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has it right. I hope they don't change that guidance,” he said. “If you're vaccinated, you don't need to wear a mask. I think if we started requiring mask wearing of those vaccinated, particularly — well, anywhere, indoors or outdoors, that's a disincentive to get vaccinated.”
“We want people to know your life is going to be more normal,” he urged. “To tell people who have been vaccinated you need to wear a mask is the wrong program.
Hutchinson said there won’t be any mask mandates for schools either.
“The solutions are clear. To be safe in the schools get vaccinated,” he said, noting vaccinations are “an incentive for parents to protect those children to make sure they have a safe environment in their home and community by increasing the vaccination rate for everybody around them.”
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