Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. José R. Romero received their first doses of a covid-19 vaccine during a televised event Monday.
Hutchinson, a 70-year-old Republican, said he was being vaccinated in public to show state residents that the shot is a safe and effective way to curb the novel coronavirus, which has caused more than 4,300 deaths in Arkansas.
"We can get though this covid pandemic by everyone taking the vaccine when it is their turn," Hutchinson said. He asked Arkansans to be patient as the state works to speed up vaccine distribution.
Hutchinson was vaccinated in Little Rock along with his wife and four teachers. The state began making the vaccine available to teachers and people aged 70 or older on Monday.
As of Sunday, 137,307 doses of the vaccine have been given in Arkansas, according to the state Department of Health. There were 1,271 Arkansas residents hospitalized with the coronavirus Sunday.