Arkansas governor, court split on vaccine eligibility order

Arkansas governor, court split on vaccine eligibility order
The state Supreme Court on Thursday issued an order saying the workers are essential government employees who should be able to receive the vaccine now. (Source: KAIT-TV)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas’ highest court and the governor are at odds over whether judges, prosecutors and other court employees should be immediately eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday issued an order saying the workers are essential government employees who should be able to receive the vaccine now.

Arkansas has already made the vaccine available to people at least 65 years old and several other groups.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the workers cited in the order are in a phase of vaccine distribution the state hasn’t reached and will have to wait if they’re not otherwise eligible.

“I appreciate the Supreme Court’s concern for judges and staff members of the court system and for attorneys whose cases require them to work in person at a court house. Our schedule for vaccinations takes into account the needs and risk level for all Arkansans, and this group is not yet eligible in the 1B phase,” Gov. Hutchinson said. As our allocation of vaccine increases, we will be able to move more quickly, but currently, court employees who don’t otherwise qualify for a shot will have to wait for their eligibility.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Region 8 News contributed to this report.