Information presented Tuesday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly press update showed an inverse relationship between vaccine rates and new case growth.
The growth of new cases in August for the 65 and older age group decreased 42% compared to January. Vaccine rates increased 70%. A 34% decrease in case growth and 59.2% increase in vaccination rates were reported for the 55-to-64 group. A 26% decrease in case growth and 51.7% increase in vaccination rates were reported for the 45-to-54 group.
"This really makes the case for vaccinations," Hutchinson said. "As the vaccination rates increase, the case rates decrease in every age group."
New cases for the population younger than 12 were 92% higher in August than they were in January. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve vaccines for children younger than 12. Pfizer's messenger RNA-based vaccine has been approved for children as young as 12.
The company said Wednesday that it expects to provide regulators with clinical trial data for children 5 to 11 by the end of the month. Data for 6-month to 5-year olds are expected to be released next month.
Dr. Jose Romero, the state's secretary of health, said 34.7% of the state's 12- to 18-year-olds were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday. Active cases among people 18 and younger have fallen 30% since the start of the month. Education Secretary Johnny Key said cases in schools decreased by 1,300 over the last week.
"Part of that is because of the local decisions being made," he said. "The local school leaders, superintends and boards are making good decisions in all of the multiple layers of mitigation strategies we have recommended. It's borne out in reports."
As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record publishes updates released by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.
The Arkansas Department of Health is no longer reporting confirmed and probable cases separately. The following stats were posted Wednesday on the Health Department's website:
• 479,110 cumulative cases, up 1,919 from Tuesday.
• 1,659.14 rolling seven-day average of new cases, down 37.43 from Tuesday.
• 3,783,946 PCR test reports, up 10,996 from Tuesday.
• 9.4% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 16,695 active cases, down 389 from Tuesday.
• 4,952 active juvenile cases, down 143 from Tuesday.
• 454,934 recoveries, up 2,278 from Tuesday.
• 3,464,730 vaccine doses received, down 140 from Tuesday.
• 2,814,760 doses given, up 7,557 from Tuesday.
• 1,090 hospitalizations, down seven from Tuesday.
• 289 cases on ventilators, up eight from Tuesday.
• 450 ICU patients, up 18 from Tuesday.
• 7,362 deaths, up 28 from Tuesday.
• 2,181 nursing home deaths, up one from Tuesday.
• 15,187 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 31 from Tuesday.
• 150,174 PCR and antigen test reports, up 636 from Tuesday.
• 10.3% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 366 active cases in Garland County, down 44 from Tuesday.
• 14,462 recoveries in Garland County, up 69 from Tuesday.
• 359 deaths, up six from Tuesday.