Texarkana, Arkansas (AP) — There were few test takers in the free lottery for vaccinated people. Free hunting and fishing licenses haven’t changed the minds of many. And because it’s the Red State of Arkansas, the mandatory vaccinations are off the table. As a result, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson met face-to-face with residents to overcome
Texarkana, Arkansas (AP) — There were few test takers in the free lottery for vaccinated people. Free hunting and fishing licenses haven’t changed the minds of many. And because it’s the Red State of Arkansas, the mandatory vaccinations are off the table.
As a result, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson met face-to-face with residents to overcome vaccine hesitation (often hostility) in Arkansas, which has the highest incidence of new COVID-19 cases in the United States. .. It is near the bottom of the dispense shot.
He meets a resident like Harvey Woods who was among the five dozen people who gathered in the ballroom of the Texarkana Convention Center on Thursday night. Most of the audience was unmasked, and the vaccinated Hutchinson was also unmasked.
Woods, 67, introduced himself to Hutchinson as “Antibacs,” saying he thinks there are too many questions about the effectiveness of the vaccine and does not believe the information about the vaccine from the federal government is reliable.
Hutchinson and his top health authorities sought to reassure Woods about the Food and Drug Administration’s review process. But Hutchinson asked Woods a question.
“Do you think COVID is real?” Asked the governor.
“I’m not afraid of it,” Woods said. Woods later said he was infected with the virus last year.
Hutchinson became president of the National Governors Association and embarked on a state-wide tour. In that role, he calls the fight against vaccine resistance a priority.
Studies have shown that vaccines are very safe and effective. However, false information continues to raise suspicions about them, especially in conservative and rural areas. Hutchinson urged the FDA to fully approve the vaccine rather than an emergency permit. This will address one of the arguments used by the opposition.
At the forum, Hutchinson seeks to sympathize with the anti-government and anti-media sentiment of vaccine skeptics. His message: Listen to your own doctor or medical professional, not the conspiracy theory.
“Let’s be clear, we’re not asking you to trust the government,” he told the Texarkana audience. “I ask you to look, do your own research, and talk to people you trust, and that’s the right approach for me.”
The approach differs from that of other Republicans who portray health leaders as enemies, even when they are trying to quell the case.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been selling shirts and other merchandise labeled “Don’t Fauci My Florida.” In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson has suggested that some health officials are trying to scare people to get vaccinated. In Tennessee, the chief vaccination officer was fired amid Republican anger at her efforts to vaccinate teenagers.
Only 35% of Arkansas’ population is fully vaccinated as highly contagious delta mutants rapidly increase the number of cases nationwide and fill hospital beds in places like Arkansas and the adjacent Missouri. I am. Only Mississippi and Alabama are low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 98% of people admitted to Arkansas for COVID-19 since January have not been vaccinated.
Hutchinson leaves few tools at his disposal after signing legislation that limits his own authority to respond to a pandemic. This includes a ban on public schools and other government agencies requiring masks that require vaccination.
About 100 barely masked audiences gathered in one of his town halls in Batesville, 11,000 towns, about 90 minutes from Little Rock.
Nathan Grant, a 66-year-old retired accountant from Batesville, said he knew nothing that Hutchinson could tell him to change his mind. Grant resisted vaccination despite being infected with COVID-19 last year. He said he didn’t trust the advice from Washington.
“They didn’t shoot straight with us. The CDC didn’t shoot straight with us. Fauci didn’t shoot straight with us. They changed the story many times,” Grant said. Said. Next to him was a skeptical fellow vaccine sitting in a baseball cap with the words “Trump: No more bulls”.
Some holdouts on the forum do not exclude vaccines. In Texarkana, one woman said she had not been fired on concerns about how she interacted with allergies. The doctor in the audience advised her to talk to her doctor.
The forum is also attracting vaccinated residents who are concerned about the state’s growing incident and resented by the lack of options to stop the surge.
Batesville’s 6-year-old mother, Cameron Bethel, asked her 10-year-old son if there was a way to get an exemption for vaccination. She also asked the governor to revive the Maskman date he released in March.
“Yes, we are a great community, but I think everything will collapse if we don’t work together to put it together,” she said.
The forum was enough to shake Teresa Cox and her daughter vaccinated at the mobile clinic after Texarkana City Hall. Cox said he didn’t trust Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top COVID-19 expert, but was confident in the doctors he spoke to at the event.
“What they said there scared me,” Cox said. “I haven’t been vaccinated for a long time, but I’ve been using the ventilator three times, so I don’t want to go back to the ventilator. You don’t forget it.”
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