Arkansas governor trying to reverse his state's trends on vaccination

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. | Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that hospitalizations are up among those who are unvaccinated and that vaccinations have slowed, a worrying trend among several states across the country.

Hutchinson said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that “people started feeling comfortable” after vaccines were first doled out. “People saw the cases of hospitalizations go down. And so, the urgency of getting the vaccine slowed down,” he said.

The state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and Hutchinson noted that incentives haven’t been successful in boosting the vaccination rate.

Hutchinson added that vaccine hesitancy remains, saying that many are concerned with the FDA’s emergency-use authorization for the vaccines being administered and want the agency to grant its final approval for more assurance.

“It was approved for emergency use, and so, for that reason, you can't mandate it,” he said. “We don't mandate it in Arkansas. We have to rely upon education.”

Implementing restrictions is “theoretically” on the table, he said, but he doesn’t think the pandemic will get as bad as it once was: “I don't believe, even with the increase that we've seen in hospitalizations, that we're going to go back to the levels we were last winter. But it is a concern.”

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