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Phase 1-B of COVID-19 vaccination expanded to include food manufacturing workers in Arkansas

This now includes those who work in meat processing and grain and oilseed milling.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday (March 2) that the state will be expanding Phase 1-B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution to include food manufacturing workers.

This now includes those who work in meat processing and grain and oilseed milling.

It's estimated that 49,000 Arkansans fall into this category.

The governor says this decision is due to the number of COVID-19 cases that have been reported in food manufacturing.

“We wanted to move them in there first because all of those that I identified in that category of agriculture food manufacturing, they work close in proximity to each other,” Gov. Hutchinson said. 

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) says vaccine clinics can now be arranged through each worksite. Vaccines are also available through community pharmacies and clinics around the state.

ADH also announced there will be at least one vaccine clinic in each of the five public health regions each week. These clinics will be set in counties with low vaccine intake and doses will be given on a first-come, first-served basis for those who fall into the current category. 

These counties include:

  • Northwest: Conway
  • Southeast: Lee
  • Northeast: Mississippi
  • Southwest: Dallas
  • Central: Pulaski

ADH says there will be no out-of-pocket expense for those who want to receive the vaccine, but if you have an insurance card bring it. 

Residents will return for the second dose around three to four weeks later, depending on the vaccine type.

The state will be receiving an additional 3,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Arkansas is also expected to receive 24,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of the week.

“That vaccine is highly efficacious in preventing death and hospitalization. It is authorized for use among the side population in the United States when the time comes,” said Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas Secretary of Health. 

RELATED: Arkansas prepares to receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

RELATED: Where to get COVID-19 vaccine in Northwest Arkansas & River Valley