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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas is expanding its distribution of the coronavirus vaccine to teachers and people aged 70 and older, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday.

Hutchinson said the state starting Monday will move into part of its next phase of the vaccine distribution, which will also include workers in child care and higher education. Hutchinson said this will cover more than 443,000 additional Arkansans.

"We want to continue to increase, as fast as we can, getting these doses into the arms of Arkansans while at the same time being able to manage the limited supply that we're given," Hutchinson said at a news conference on the Capitol.

The additional groups were initially part of a second phase of vaccinations that the state hoped to begin in February. That phase will include essential workers such as food and manufacturing workers and essential government employees.

The Arkansas Education Association, which has criticized the state's requirement that schools offer in-person education, called Tuesday's move a welcome step.

Arkansas last week adjusted its vaccine rollout, moving police, firefighters and other first responders to the first phase of the vaccine's distribution.

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