Top State Stories 1/25
WV: West Virginia became a leader in the US COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Here’s how.
West Virginia has used 83% of its allotted vaccines, among the best inoculation rates in the nation. But even efficient operations face a major problem: There simply are not enough shots to go around.
CA: California could prioritize age for COVID-19 vaccines, upsetting essential workers
With California having trouble both getting and giving COVID-19 vaccines, state officials are openly mulling prioritizing older residents ahead of all other factors, including one’s job. That has advocates worried that essential workers, from teachers to farmworkers, will be left behind.
OK: Oklahoma will target minority communities for coronavirus vaccines
Oklahoma health officials plan to work with retailers and faith leaders in minority communities across the state to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Oklahoma State Department of Health plans to unveil vaccine dispensing sites in minority communities across the state in the coming weeks.
NJ: New Jersey immigrant communities may lack access to vaccines, experts fear
As the coronavirus vaccination rollout continues, advocates say they are concerned that members of New Jersey’s immigrant communities may have difficulty getting vaccinated and that it may even be hard for them just to get much-needed information about available doses.
MO: CDC: Missouri ranks last in percentage of residents to receive first COVID-19 vaccine doses
In an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Missouri ranks last in the percentage of residents who have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 3.9% of Missourians receiving the initial shot as of Sunday.
AR: Confusion reigns as Arkansas hustles to get COVID-19 vaccines into arms
Almost a week since the state OK’d Arkansans 70 and older to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, many senior citizens and pharmacists tell stories of frustration and confusion when seeking merely an appointment to get a shot.
SC: South Carolina governor says hospitals have improved their coronavirus vaccine distribution
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, said he’s now happy with hospitals’ rollout of COVID-19 vaccines after spending the first part of last week criticizing the pace of inoculations. “We’re past that now,” said the governor, who visited Hilton Head Hospital to watch its vaccination clinic.
WA: COVID-19 spikes are fourfold among Washington state’s Latinos
The disparate impact of COVID-19 is pronounced in Washington, where the pervasiveness and demographics of high-tech and other professional jobs mean many White people can work at home, while Latinos often work essential jobs in person.
OR: Oregon seniors have one of the longest COVID-19 vaccine waits in the country
Seniors in Oregon will wait longer than almost anywhere else in the country to be eligible for coronavirus vaccinations. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, decided to prioritize teachers, making Oregon one of only two states to buck federal guidance by allowing teachers to go ahead of older adults.
MA: Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccination rollout lags most other states
Six weeks after the first COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for emergency use, Massachusetts—celebrated as a national health care leader—ranks in the bottom half of U.S. states in getting injections into the arms of its residents.
CO: Racial disparities emerge in Colorado’s COVID-19 vaccination rates
White Coloradans are more likely to have received a coronavirus vaccine than Black or Hispanic residents, according to new data released Friday by state health officials. The numbers are incomplete because some vaccine providers have not been recording race data.
UT: Utah declines to disclose when coronavirus vaccines arrive or who gets them
It’s unclear why thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to Utah haven’t been given to eligible residents, even as the state reported dozens of deaths in the past week, hundreds of coronavirus patients were hospitalized and the rate of positive tests continued to hover around 1 in 5.
MI: COVID-19 vaccine shortage slows Michigan inoculation efforts
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is confident Michigan can provide 50,000 vaccinations a day but is only getting about 60,000 doses a week.
NM: New Mexico Medicaid growth might lead to budget shortfall
During the pandemic, New Mexico has jumped from third to first in the nation for its share of residents enrolled in Medicaid. The unprecedented growth could lead to a million shortfall in the state program.
LA: Louisiana sees an alarming drop in reading scores
Reading scores for Louisiana’s youngest students have plunged for three consecutive years, raising red flags. More than half of the state’s K-3 students are reading below grade level.
CT: Eligibility mishaps and confusion in Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccination plan allowed not-yet-eligible people to get shots
Confusion about eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccination and a lack of safeguards to prevent not-yet-eligible people from making appointments has allowed some Connecticut residents to receive a shot before they’re technically allowed, raising concerns that the state’s most vulnerable residents aren’t being adequately prioritized.
DE: Mass COVID-19 vaccinations at Delaware drive-thru sites see major delays
Seniors invited to attend a weekend mass drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Delaware City motor vehicle agency had an appointment, but even having an appointment meant an hours-long wait, with many spending their entire day in line.
AK: Alaska state senator looks to limit mail-in voting among state’s cities
The first bill to be heard in the Alaska legislature this year would partially dismantle voting-by-mail systems used by Anchorage, Juneau and other cities across Alaska. In addition to restrictions on municipal voting by mail, the bill would eliminate the state’s ability to conduct elections by mail, repealing a law currently used for some rural school board elections.
NY: New York state universities will reopen for in-person classes
State University of New York officials announced that in-person classes will resume on Feb. 1. To further prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campuses, students, faculty and staff who regularly come to campus will be required to be tested on a weekly basis.
IA: Iowa governor releases her sweeping ‘school choice’ bill
Under a wide-ranging education bill Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds released last week, some Iowa students would qualify to receive public funding to pay for their education at private schools through a new “scholarship fund.”
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