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Hutchinson Concerned About Partisan Vaccine Acceptance in Arkansas

asa hutchinson speaks at a podium in front of a flag
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., speaks about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine distributions at a news conference on Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo)

By    |   Sunday, 14 March 2021 01:32 PM

Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson lamented Sunday his “very pro-Trump” state likely has an alarming poor 50% acceptance rate for the COVID-19 vaccine.

In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Hutchinson said “we see the resistance” reflected in a CBS News poll that shows a partisan divide in  willingness to get the vaccine, particularly among young Republicans.

“In Arkansas, it's a very pro-Trump state in terms of the last election,” he said referring to overwhelming election support of former President Donald Trump.

“Whenever we are opening up eligibility for the vaccine, we're moving through it very quickly because we're not having everybody sign up to take it,” he said.

“What we're doing to address it is having influencers who would need to broaden that, to help shape the thinking,” he continued.

“But as more and more people get the vaccine, they see it's a way to get back to more normal life. They're excited about it. They're optimistic. So, I see those numbers changing.”

Hutchinson noted that occasionally someone will will put off the vaccine to make sure it’s safe.

“We're encouraging them not to do that. When it's your turn, take the vaccine,” he said. “But at the same time, we're going to move through the eligibility and then we're going to have to come back and catch up because we'll probably be at a 50% rate. We need to get up to 70 to 80% acceptance rate.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says 70% to 85% of Americans will need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to be achieved, as the virus would have nowhere to travel and infections will drop. 

In his Sunday interview, Hutchinson also said he’s put in a “ramp” that will lead to a lifting of a mask mandate.

“I didn't want to have a jump off the bridge in one moment, so we have a ramp in which we want to see what our testing, our cases look like, our hospitalizations, positivity rate look like toward the end of the month,” he said.

“And we'll make a decision whether we can lift the mask mandate and turn it into guidance and common sense.”

According to Hutchinson, “I think the time in this pandemic for heavy-handed restrictions and mandates are going by the wayside so people can make good judgments. And we expect that to happen even after March 31 if the mask mandate is lifted.”

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Politics
Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson lamented Sunday his "very pro-Trump" state likely has an alarming poor 50% acceptance rate for the COVID-19 vaccine.
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2021-32-14
Sunday, 14 March 2021 01:32 PM
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