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Arkansas guv.: Vaccine distribution ‘seamless’ under Biden

January 31, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this July 20, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol in Little Rock. State lawmakers across the country will be convening in 2021 with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic rippling through much of their work and even affecting the way they work. After 10 months of emergency orders and restrictions from governors and local executive officials, some state lawmakers are eager to reassert their power over statewide decisions shaping the way people shop, work, worship and attend school (Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)
FILE - In this July 20, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol in Little Rock. State lawmakers across the country will be convening in 2021 with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic rippling through much of their work and even affecting the way they work. After 10 months of emergency orders and restrictions from governors and local executive officials, some state lawmakers are eager to reassert their power over statewide decisions shaping the way people shop, work, worship and attend school (Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine has been “seamless” under the administration of President Joe Biden.

Hutchinson said on ABC’s “This Week” that anything that can be done to speed up production of vaccines, including invoking the Defense Production Act, would be good.

“In terms of the vaccine distribution, it’s been seamless. And I was delighted that we had a ... 14% increase in vaccine supply last week. This is going to be very, very important for us,” Hutchinson said.

The state reported on Sunday that 307,558 of the 520,00 doses Arkansas has received of the coronavirus vaccine have been given.

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“Thank goodness we have that partnership which is good with the federal government. And President Biden and his team is -- is working to assure that partnership and not tear it apart, which I’m very grateful for,” Hutchinson told “This Week.”

In the past week, Arkansas saw the number of people hospitalized because of the virus drop to its lowest point since November.

There were 911 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the state on Saturday, a drop of 40 patients from Friday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Hutchinson said that in January, the state tested over 400,000 of its residents, which is over 10% of Arkansas’ population.

“While we receive additional (vaccine) doses, it’s important we all wear a mask, watch our distance, and wash our hands,” Hutchinson said Saturday in a tweet.

On Sunday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 881 new coronavirus cases and 30 new deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

There were a reported 913 hospitalizations due to the virus, up two from Saturday. On Thursday, the number of hospitalizations fell below 1,000 for the first time since November.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 295,268 cases and 4,868 deaths in Arkansas.