Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that Arkansas will not see mandates requiring children to be vaccinated once vaccines are approved for anyone under age 12. Hutchinson said that state law prohibits any such mandate.
“The answer is ‘No.’ I mean, we don’t have a mandate for those 12 and above. For the foreseeable future, and under the law of Arkansas, there is not any mandate and will not be any mandate for those age groups,” said Hutchinson.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could potentially approve an emergency authorization to Pfizer for vaccines among those between the ages of 5 and 11 by Halloween. Pfizer has provided vaccine trial data to the FDA for proposed vaccine, which would be 10 micrograms compared with the 30 microgram dose used for those 12 and older. The Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 to 11 would also be a two-dose regimen.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA and a board member at Pfizer, recently said during a CNBC Squawk Box interview that Pfizer could submit to the FDA “very quickly.”
“The data came a little earlier than some were expecting, and depending on how long the FDA takes to review the application, whether it’s a four-week review or a six-week review, you could have a vaccine available to children as early as probably by the end of October, perhaps it slips a little bit into November,” he said.
Hutchinson also said he hopes to see more daily vaccination rates in Arkansas.
“We had some very very high days that we were thrilled with. Now it seems to be settling around 7,000 (daily vaccinations),” said Hutchinson. “Some days down, some days up. Concern is not the right word, but I hope that we can keep the focus on the vaccines. The best assurance that we can keep it down would be increasing that vaccine rate even to a higher extent that prepares us for the winter.”