If they haven’t done it yet, parents should act fast to get vaccinated and get their adolescents and teens vaccinated well in advance of the start of school, ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson told reporters Tuesday.
In separate interviews with Little Rock television station THV11 and Fayetteville radio station KUAF, Thompson said people who begin a two-dose vaccine regimen today will not reach maximum immunity until five or six weeks from now.
“If they’ve not started the vaccine series, they need to start this week to have optimal protection as school resumes this fall,” he told THV11.
COVID-19 vaccines are currently available for people age 12 and up.
In his interview with KUAF, Thompson also discussed the highly contagious Delta variant, Arkansas’s low vaccination and testing rates, widespread misinformation about the vaccine, and concerns that if the pandemic continues much longer, the virus could mutate into something that evades protection from the vaccines.
Thompson also spoke to KUAF about the new state law banning government entities, including public schools, from requiring face masks.
“I was with the rural educators’ association ― superintendents from rural school districts ― yesterday, and one of their big concerns is that they are going to have an outbreak at a local school, and because of the legislation they are handcuffed about being able to require masks in their schools at the local level,” he said. “So this is a real concern, I think, as the Delta variant [spreads] and we lose the control that we had just a few weeks ago. We really need to look at all public health strategies being back on the table to combat the virus.”
See more information about the pandemic on our COVID-19 in Arkansas page.