5 Arkansans receive first COVID-19 vaccinations in the state

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Five frontline health care workers were the first to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Arkansas Monday.

Among those to receive the vaccine were Sherian Kwanisai, a nurse with the Arkansas Department of Health and a nursing director for a local public health unit, healthcare-acquired team members Kelley Garner, Megan DeLong, and Rohan Chakravorty as well as Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Arkansas’s Surgeon General who also is an emergency room physician.

Dr. Bledsoe tested positive for the virus in October. He said it is not clear if someone can get the virus more than once, so he wanted to be vaccinated. Bledsoe also said he wanted to lead by example.

Earlier in the day, Governor Asa Hutchinson tweeted the first shipment of vaccines had arrived in the state.

Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero said as of Monday, one pharmacy, two hospitals and the department of health have received the vaccines. Romero says the bulk of the remaining hospitals should receive vaccines on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Romero said he believes the vaccine will be available to the public by the summer.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization late Friday.

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