COVID vaccine
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Officials with the Arkansas Department of Health told KATV they are getting concerned as they are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. They said it's up to Arkansans who are eligible to get their COVID shot to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Jennifer Dillaha

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (Photo by KATV)

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Department of Health said over a period of time, antibodies start to level off and getting the booster shot provides an extra layer of protection. She said they are concerned about the number of new COVID cases, active cases, and the number of hospitalizations. Those are the reasons why she is encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated.

"We want these holidays to be good holidays for people, we really need some good holiday time together with our friends and family," Dillaha said. "It's not going to be a good time if we have a rapid increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations."

Officials said more than 50% of Arkansans five and up are fully vaccinated and more than 247,000 people have had their third booster shot. They said in 78.6% of active cases people are not vaccinated. According to officials, nearly 39% of eligible Arkansans are not vaccinated.

Dillaha said they follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on who is considered to be fully vaccinated. She said those who are fully vaccinated include anyone who has received both COVID shots from Pfizer, Moderna, or the one dose of the Johnson and Johnson.

"So. to get the most protection for people who are fully vaccinated they will need a booster dose, six months after the Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after the Jansen vaccine," Dillaha.

Rev. Stephanie Fox is an Episcopal Priest. Fox said she understands the importance of protecting people especially her church congregation. She said that's one of the reasons why she decided to get her third booster shot.

"I feel much more protected, especially with the Delta variant out there," Fox said. "You know I spend a lot of time with people in the community, and I just wanna make sure that I'm keeping myself healthy and I'm keeping everyone else that I love healthy."

Fox said she also chose to get her booster shot to be around her family and friends during the holiday season.

"Loving your neighbor is about loving everyone and I think getting vaccinated is the best way to love your neighbor," Fox said.

According to Fox, she also chose to get her booster shot to be around her family and friends during the holiday season.

Officials with the health department say they do have enough doses to administer booster shots. They told KATV they need Arkansans to help prevent the spread.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent KATV a statement in regards to the need for Arkansans to get the booster shot.

“The booster remains a critical tool in our fight against COVID-19. The science shows that vaccine efficacy wanes over time, and a booster is important to ensure someone has the best protection possible. Therefore, I have continually expressed the importance of getting the booster."

This article originally ran on ktbs.com.

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