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As states around the country are working to distribute and administer doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, some governors are handling the responsibility better than others.

While states such as West Virginia, North Dakota, and South Dakota top the charts for administering vaccines, ranking above a rate of 2,700 vaccinations per 100,000 people, other states such as California and New York are dragging their feet on implementation, administering vaccines to just over 1,000 people per 100,000 in the states’ populations.

In West Virginia, Republican Gov. Jim Justice emphasized the importance of vaccinating the elderly and those in long-term care facilities, enrolling the assistance of local pharmacies to begin administering doses “before a lot of states get started.”

“Our great National Guard and all of our health officials came up with an idea to basically recruit all the local pharmacies,” Justice said.

This prioritization within the vaccine rollout plan pushed the state to move on right at the turn of the New Year to vaccinating those in the general population who are over 80 years old. According to Justice, the state is working overtime to ensure the vaccine is distributed to everyone who needs it.

“We cannot do more than what we have,” Justice said. “But we can get them out fast and get them to the people that need them the most and absolutely cry to the mountaintops to get more, to get more. The faster we get them out, the more we cry, and the more we get here.”

As of Monday in New York, however, vaccines were overwhelmingly limited to being administered during business hours, with large drops in administered vaccinations over weekends and holidays. On Christmas Day, only 180 people in the entire state of New York received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. On New Year’s Day, only 135 people in the state were vaccinated.

Another hangup in New York’s vaccine implementation plan is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to increase penalties on health care providers who disregard the state’s COVID-19 vaccine prioritization schedule, which includes vaccinating drug addicts before senior citizens.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a similar policy in his state, claiming that “if you skip the line or you intend to skip the line, you will be sanctioned, you will lose your license.” Newsom added, “You will not only lose your license, we will be very aggressive in terms of highlighting the reputational impacts as well.”

These rules, however, have put health care providers all across the state in a difficult position when left with extra doses of the vaccine, which require refrigeration. Some doctors and health care workers are being forced to choose between giving the vaccine to anyone who is readily available to receive it but might not be at the front of the line and throwing it away due to poor planning.

Despite the severe lag in New York and California’s ability to vaccinate a large number of people promptly, a feat other states have proved successful in implementing, both Cuomo and Newsom have attempted to reframe their states’ poor performance with praise.

While he previously opposed a vaccine created and distributed under the Trump administration, Cuomo has now bragged about the Empire State’s rollout plan multiple times, claiming the vaccine is the “weapon that’s going to win the war.”

“That we’ve already administered 300,000 doses is extraordinary,” Newsom said, acknowledging that California “may have overpromised a little bit in the short run about the availability and the distribution of the vaccine.”

Other governors are under fire for an underwhelming vaccine rollout record, such as Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in Maryland, a state that recently ranked at the bottom of the country for vaccine distribution.

Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.



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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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Son of prominent conservative leader Bozell arrested in connection with Capitol siege

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Leo Brent Bozell IV, the son of conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III, is facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 breech of the U.S. Capitol.

Bozell is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to a federal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The official affidavit includes photos and videos that appear to show Bozell inside of the U.S. Capitol Building, including the Senate chambers.

At least one photo shows Bozell wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a logo for a Christian school at which he once coached girls basketball, according to the Huffington Post.

The FBI obtained a photo of him posing with a student of a school, in Hershey, Pa.

His father founder, who founded the Media Research Center and other conservative groups, has condemned the riots, saying, “You can never countenance police being attacked. You cannot countenance our national capitol being breached like this. … I think it is absolutely wrong,” according to NewsBusters.

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Trump calls Limbaugh ‘legend,’ in first TV interview since Senate trial

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Former President Trump on Wednesday afternoon praised the career of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has died of cancer.

“He loved his country, and he loved his fans,” Trump said on the Fox News Channel. “He is a legend.”

The interview was Trump’s first since the conclusion of his Senate impeachment trial last week.

Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced her husband’s death earlier in the day on his radio show. He had been diagnosed about a year ago with Stage-IV lung cancer. He was 70.

The president also said he had a personal friendship with Limbaugh, who was an early supporter of his 2016 presidential bid and who, like Trump, thought the president won reelection in 2020.

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Trump also pointed out that Limbaugh was a provocateur in his views about conservative politics that often sparked backlash from liberals and other critics. 

Trump last year in his State of the Union address awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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