COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Vaccines are the path back to normalcy. Officials are working hard at every level of government to get as many shots in arms as humanly possible on the fastest timeline.

Current status of vaccinations in Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Health has a helpful map showing locations around the state administering the vaccine. Click here to learn more about the state’s vaccination plan and who is currently eligible for the shot.

Veterans enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) also have the option of receiving a vaccine from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system. The VHA is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine distribution guidelines, which can differ from the state-by-state plans.

Veterans will receive a call from the VA’s Vaccination Team to schedule their appointment when they are eligible. To get more information on this process and sign-up for automatic updates on vaccine availability click here.


COVID-19 vaccines are safe

Three vaccines have received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, one by Moderna and one by Johnson and Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is designed to be given as a single dose. 

We would not be in this position so quickly without the work of incredibly intelligent researchers, the courageous commitment of trial participants and a historic public-private partnership to get this heavy lift off the ground.

The feedback I have received from constituents indicates that there are still a number of Arkansans who have serious concerns about getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

This is entirely understandable, given that vaccines usually take a decade or more to develop. But I assure you, there were no shortcuts taken in the development or approval process.

The difference that allowed for a rapid development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is rooted in our understanding of the disease and vaccine science. The pandemic mobilized researchers to counter this virus in an unprecedented way. The vaccine timeline was cut down significantly by the breakthroughs on the front end. The same thorough, rigorous benchmarks for clinical trials and proof of effectiveness had to be met by these vaccines. 

The FDA is globally respected for its scientific standards of vaccine safety, effectiveness and quality. It continues to work closely with researchers from development through approval. The rigorous evaluation of the scientific information the FDA undertakes through all phases of clinical trials continues after a vaccine has been approved or authorized for emergency use.

The scientific advancements that enabled the swift development of these vaccines ought to be celebrated, not feared.

I wrote about my vaccine experience in an opinion piece published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in hopes that this helps reassure Arkansans, especially those who may be skeptical, to get the vaccine when it becomes available to them.