CABOT, Ark. – With COVID cases on the rise once more in Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson kicked off his COVID-19 Community Conversation tour Thursday evening in Cabot.
The series of talks was first announced this past Tuesday, and will take place around the state in the coming weeks.
The governor will be able to hear from community members, educators, and nurses on their COVID concerns and answer any questions they have on the vaccine.
He said the goal is to convince more people to get the shot to meet Hutchinson’s end-of-July goal of 50% of Arkansans vaccinated.
Governor Hutchinson started by saying the future of the vaccination rate is now in the hands of the people, saying.
“There’s not a whole lot the state can do. It’s all about what the community can do.” Gov. Hutchinson said.
Questions asked by attendees included what to do about misinformation.
“I spend a large part of my day dispelling myths, bad information, propaganda,” Kim Griffith, a nurse practitioner, said.
She asked what resources were available to help educate others, and Hutchison replied that the Arkansas Department of Health and CDC websites were great sources.
The topic was brought up again when speakers pointed out that internet access in rural towns can be hard to come by.
Ashley Davis with Lonoke County Safe Haven said many of their guests only have a few minutes of access at a time.
“What are your suggestions and plans for getting the most information out to them when they don’t have access to the internet?” Davis said.
Other concerns included the dangerous Delta variant sweeping the state, which was tackled by Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero.
“It is the young, healthy individual that is now winding up in the hospital and dying from this disease.” Dr. Romero said.
Dr. William Greenfield, an OBGYN with UAMS, also answering the theory that vaccines affect fertility.
“There is no bearing on the impact of fertility on men or women,” Dr. William said.
While those who showed up walked away with new information, so did the governor – who vowed to take the words of the community to heart in order to protect his state.
The locations and dates of future COVID Conversations have not been released yet, but Governor Hutchinson has said more are to come.