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Governor expands vaccine eligibility; hotline available for appointment assistance

by Brianna Kwasnik | March 8, 2021 at 11:43 a.m.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks July 13, 2020 at the state Capitol in Little Rock during his daily covid-19 briefing. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staton Breidenthal)

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccinations would be open to everyone in category 1-B.

This opens up vaccination eligibility to include all manufacturing facilities, public transport, grocery store workers, those working in meal delivery and postal and package delivery services, he announced Monday morning.

The state will also begin a toll-free hotline to assist Arkansans with making a vaccine appointment. Beginning Monday, 20 personnel will be dedicated to assist in making appointments. The number, available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday is 1-800-985-6030 and translation services will be available, the governor said.

The hotline is intended to be supplementary to the existing system of calling your provider or pharmacy, Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson also announced that people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have been moved into category 1-B, because they are considered a “vulnerable population” and therefore susceptible to the virus.

Hutchinson said the eligibility expansion is a result of noticing a decreased demand over the weekend at mass vaccine clinics. The expansion will include approximately 180,000 Arkansans, he said.

“We noticed we did not have the demand we anticipated,” he said. “That could indicate there’s some resistance to the vaccines… we have to keep the demand up and we have to keep the lines full.”

Hutchinson and health secretary Dr. Jose Romero estimated everyone in this category could receive their vaccine by the end of the month.

Phase 1B

The categories of eligible Arkansans under Phase 1-B of the COVID-19 vaccination plan are detailed below.

People 65 years of age and older

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including Down syndrome) Police Protection, Fire Protection, and Other First Responders

County Sheriffs and Deputies

Community Police Officers

County and Community Fire Departments (paid and volunteer)

Other Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities

Emergency and Other Relief Services during natural disasters, such as Red Cross


Child Daycare workers K-12 teachers and staff

Referees/Sports Officials (AAA sanctioned) Music education instructors (in school only) School bus drivers

Junior College faculty and staff

Colleges, Universities, and Professional School faculty and staff Business Schools and Computer and Management Training workers Technical and Trade School workers

Vocational Rehabilitation Services workers

Adult Education workers

Educational Support Services workers

Administration of Education Programs

Automobile Driving Schools

Food and Agriculture

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting workers Crop Production

Animal Production and Aquaculture

Cattle Ranching and Farming, including dairy cattle and milk production


Hog and Pig Farming

Poultry and Egg Production

Sheep and Goat Farming


Other Animal Production, including bees, horses, fur-bearing animals and rabbits

Forestry and Logging

Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping

Support Activities for Agriculture and Forestry H2A Migrant workers

Food Manufacturing

Animal Food Manufacturing

Grain and Oilseed Milling

Flour Milling and Malt Manufacturing

Rice Milling

Soybean and Other Oilseed Processing

Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing

Fruit and Vegetable Preserving and Specialty Food Manufacturing Dairy Product Manufacturing

Animal Slaughtering and Processing

Animal, except poultry, slaughtering Meat processed from carcasses Poultry Processing

Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing

Other Food Manufacturing

Beverage Manufacturing

Nursery, Garden Center, and Farm Supply Stores workers

Veterinary Services, including veterinarians and veterinarian technicians, and others who work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics, veterinary testing laboratories


Department of Corrections Workers Juvenile Corrections Workers

City and County Jail Workers

Parole and Probation Office workers

Houses of Worship

Clergy Pastors Ministers Priests Rabbis Imams

Other Faith Leaders for Houses of Worship

Transit Workers (Public–facing)

Bus/Van Drivers (includes Charter Buses

All Other Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation Urban Transit Systems

Employee Bus/Van Drivers

Special Needs Transportation Drivers

Taxi Drivers/Uber/Lyft

Interurban and Rural Bus Transportation Airline/Airport Workers

Postal and Package Delivery Services

Postal Service workers Couriers and Messengers

Workers in Courier and Express Delivery Services

such as DHL, Federal Express, UPS. (Amazon is in 1C under Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order) Local Messengers and Local Delivery

Private Mail Centers

Grocery Stores and Meal Delivery

Food and Beverage Stores

General Merchandise Stores, including Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters Community Food Services

Carry-out and Meal Delivery workers


Non-food manufacturing facility workers

Wood Product Manufacturing workers

Paper Manufacturing workers

Asphalt Paving, Roofing, and Saturated Material Manufacturing Other Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing

Chemical Manufacturing

Plastics and Rubber Product Manufacturing

Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing

Primary Metal Manufacturing

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing

Machinery Manufacturing

Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing

Electronic Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing

Transportation Equipment Manufacturing

Wood Kitchen Cabinet and Countertop Manufacturing

Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing

Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing

Industrial Design Services

Other Electronic and Precision Equipment Repair and Maintenance

Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment (except Automotive and Electronic) Repair and Maintenance

Essential Government Workers

Marshallese Consulate staff Mexican Consulate staff


Federal Courts, Judges, Attorneys and Support Staff (Eastern and Western Districts) Federal Public Defenders Court Personnel, who enter correctional/jail facilities Court Reporting and Stenotype Services

Legal Counsel and Prosecution

Legal Interpreters and Paralegals, who enter correctional/jail facilities


Category 1 Employees of Cabinet Departments

DWS Local Offices (if not included in Category 1)

DHS Central and Local Offices (if not included in Category 1) DFA Local Offices (if not included in Category 1)

Category 1 Employees of Non-cabinet Departments

Category 1 Employees of Constitutional Departments/Offices

Administration of Education Programs

State Courts, Judges, Attorneys and Support Staff

Federal Public Defenders Court Personnel, who enter correctional/jail facilities Court Reporting and Stenotype Services

City and County

County Judge and Quorum Court

Mayor and City Council

City and County Courts, Judges, Attorneys and Support Staff

County and City Attorneys and Public Defenders, who enter correctional/jail facilities Court Reporting and Stenotype Services

Public-facing Clerks


Office of Emergency Management workers

Solid Waste/Trash Collection workers (private, county) Water, Sewage, and Other Systems

Waste Management and Remediation Services Administration of Housing Programs


Gov. Asa Hutchinson will make an announcement on COVID-19 vaccine distribution at 10:30 a.m.

Check back to watch the live video.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to view » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPnjdYz-Rr8]


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