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story.lead_photo.caption Little Rock Police Officer Timothy Pope, left, gets a dose of the Pfizer covid vaccine Tuesday Jan. 5, 2021 in Little Rock from pharmacist Allison Ingram with Cornerstone Pharmacy on Rodney Parham Road as the first Little Rock fire and police department personnel got vaccinations. See more photos at ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Staton Breidenthal)

This story is a part of The Article, your guide to Arkansas news and culture, presented by the Democrat-Gazette. Sign up for The Article's twice-weekly newsletter here or go here to see stories that have appeared in past newsletters.

Vaccines to protect against covid-19 are already being administered in Arkansas. Here is what we know so far about the state’s plans for rollout.

Vaccine distribution will occur in phases based on federal guidance, though the state doesn’t have to follow federal plans strictly. (In fact, the governor has already deviated from federal plans — read more about that here.)

So far, the state has made a timeline and plans for Phase 1 of the rollout, which is divided into three parts.

Phase 1-A, currently in progress:

Who: Healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, EMS and law enforcement or firefighters who serve as first-responders, some correctional healthcare workers and other employees

How: Hospitals vaccinate employees, pharmacies vaccinate long-term care folks and community-based pharmacies vaccinate others

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the 1A group includes 180,000 Arkansans and that his goal is to complete that phase by the end of this month.

Hutchinson also announced Jan. 12 that although they were initially slated to be in group 1-B, school staff, including teachers, and Arkansans over 70 would be eligible for vaccines as soon as Jan. 18.

School districts should contact the department's local health unit, pharmacies or other providers to schedule vaccination clinics for their employees, he said.

School employees should contact their districts for information on how to get the vaccine, he said.

Hutchinson said other Arkansans age 70 and older should call participating pharmacies to schedule appointments.

Phase 1-B, expected to begin in February:

Who: Food/agricultural workers, firefighters and law enforcement not counted under 1-A, manufacturing workers, grocery store employees, public transportation workers, childcare workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, essential workers in government (including legislators)

How: Through community pharmacies and medical clinics

Phase 1-C, expected to begin in April:

Who: People 65 or older, people 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, transportation and logistics workers, waste and wastewater workers, food service workers, shelter and housing workers, finance workers, IT and communications workers, media, public safety and public health workers

How: Through community pharmacies and medical clinics

One hard-hit group so far unassigned to a Phase 1 group is inmates. Department of Corrections Secretary Solomon Graves said a timeline has not been set to begin vaccinations among the state’s more than 13,000 prisoners.

After Phase 1, according to the Department of Health, Phase 2 is intended to vaccinate the “general population” while Phase 3 will finish vaccinating all people in need and move toward routine covid-19 vaccination.

To stay up-to-date with coronavirus news, subscribe to our coronavirus newsletter.

Click here to see the state's current vaccination plan on the state Department of Health's website.


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