Vaccinations lag in Arkansas as variants spreading increase

Dr. Shawn Peyton says she is still fighting misinformation when it comes to getting the COVID...
Dr. Shawn Peyton says she is still fighting misinformation when it comes to getting the COVID vaccine.(KAIT-TV)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 7:38 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - A new, more deadly COVID variant first discovered in India has made its way near Region 8. Ten new cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant have been confirmed just across the state line in Shelby County, Tenn.

Many are concerned about it spreading here in Northeast Arkansas.

As of June 15, just over 40 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.

In rural areas, that number is lower.

For example, in Randolph County, just 18 percent of all residents are fully vaccinated, and in Lawrence County, it’s 26 percent.

Dr. Shawn Peyton with the Lawrence County Family Clinic says she still sees hesitancy with some of her patients to get the vaccine.

She believes the most common reason people aren’t getting the shot is misinformation, and the low vaccination rate puts the state at more risk.

“There was some vaccine insecurity but now we’re six months in and it’s looking excellent so the fact that people come and tell me that they need to wait, I do not feel that’s valid at this point,” Dr. Peyton said. “We need to get to about 70 percent vaccination rate until we can really, really overpower this virus and get rid of it for the community, and right now we’re not even close.”

Dr. Peyton said education about the vaccine is most important to her, saying she wants to be sure her patients make the most informed decision possible about getting the vaccine.

President Joe Biden also has the goal of a 70 percent vaccination rate nationwide. Just under 33 percent of Arkansans have been vaccinated, only beating Alabama and Mississippi with that number of people who have been vaccinated.

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