As we cross the one-year mark in fighting the global Coronavirus pandemic, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to the great work of Operation Warp Speed, we have multiple safe and effective vaccines available to the public. I encourage everyone to take the vaccine once it becomes available.
I am proud that Arkansas is a leader in vaccine administration. The state has coordinated well with local pharmacies and hospitals to allocate over 67% of doses received from the federal government thus far. Arkansas is currently in Phase 1-B of our distribution plan where any resident aged 70 or older, education workers, childcare workers, health care workers, and others may receive a vaccine. With the coming increase in vaccine availability, families will now face the sometimes difficult choice of whether or not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
While this is a very personal decision to make, I encourage each of us to receive the vaccine so that we can protect our families and our communities, and we can soon return to normal life as soon as possible. For the last year, we have all suffered immensely. Elderly residents have been afraid to leave their houses, businesses have closed forever, children have lost a year of quality education despite the hard work of our incredibly talented educators, and those struggling with addiction and mental health challenges have faced a battle like never before.
The vaccine will not solve all our problems, of course, but it will put America back on the right track. I hope you will all consider taking the vaccine for the sake of those who are hurting. I know Arkansas is strong and resilient - we will get through this together.