Even though Covid-19 has surged across Arkansas in recent weeks, the state’s Republican Governor, Asa Hutchinson, insisted that President Joe Biden’s recent vaccine mandate for employers will only “harden resistance” among those who have refused to get vaccinated against the virus in the first place.
“We have to overcome resistance,” Hutchinson said during an interview with CNN.
“This is a very serious, deadly virus and we’re all together in trying to get an increased level of vaccination out in the population. The problem is that I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the President’s actions in a mandate hardens the resistance.”
Hutchinson called Biden’s move “divisive.”
Hutchinson’s remarks ignore that vaccination rates have increased nationwide in response to President Biden’s mandate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1.78 million people have received a dose of the vaccine in recent weeks.
The Covid-19 situation in Arkansas has been particularly dire in recent weeks.
Hospitalizations in Arkansas have only recently begun to decline, but the state reported 1,116 new cases of Covid-19 as of yesterday. The Department of Health reported that 35 people died of the virus in the last 24 hours. Only 35 percent of Arkansas is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States.
President Biden’s mandate will affect roughly 100 million Americans. It will include a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors, in addition to a requirement that large companies must mandate vaccines or regular testing for employees.
Biden expressed his frustration with the 25% of Americans who have not yet gotten a vaccine.
“What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?” he said. “We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So please, do the right thing.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.
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