NEWS BRIEFS

Garden City Telegram

Report finds 25% of Missouri adults say they won't get a coronavirus vaccine

ST. LOUIS - One-quarter of adult Missourians say they would not get a coronavirus vaccine at any point, according to results of a national survey released Friday.

The findings from collaborators at four universities, including Northeastern and Harvard, place Missouri's level of vaccine resistance above the national average of 21%, and near the middle of the pack, compared to other states. Massachusetts had the smallest share of respondents opposed to a coronavirus vaccine, at 9%, while Oklahoma and North Dakota tied for the greatest portion of residents who said they would not get the vaccinations, at 33% each.

The study - based on polls of 21,459 U.S. residents from every state, including 424 Missourians - helps outline what experts say will be a critical effort to gauge vaccine hesitancy as the nation pushes to vaccinate its residents. The subject has already fueled conversation among St. Louis researchers and policy adjustments by state officials.

Just last week, Gov. Mike Parson noted high interest in urban centers, and said that the state will work to hold more mass vaccination events in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. "Some Missourians are less interested in receiving a vaccine than others," he said.

The new nationwide study also found that rural areas had "far higher vaccination resistance" - 29% of rural respondents across the U.S., versus 22% in suburban areas, and 16% in urban places. - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick won’t run again in Arizona

WASHINGTON - Arizona Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick announced Friday that she won’t seek another term to her Tucson-area House seat, which Republicans are targeting.

“I will continue the good fight through this Congress, and when the term is up, I will hand over the baton,” she said in a statement.

Kirkpatrick, 70, who took a leave of absence last year to recover from alcohol dependency, told The Arizona Republic her health was not a factor in her decision.

“I’ve been in public service for 18 years and I’ve always been a proponent of term limits and ... I’m sort of term-limiting myself,” she told the paper, adding that she would also like to spend more time with her three grandchildren.

Kirkpatrick is currently in her second term representing Arizona’s 2nd District. She previously represented the largely rural 1st District for three nonconsecutive terms, before giving up the seat for an unsuccessful Senate run in 2016, losing to Republican John McCain. She also won two terms to the Arizona House in 2004 and 2006.

The 2nd District, which takes in rapidly growing suburban areas surrounding Tucson through sparsely populated land to the state’s southeast border with Mexico, has long been considered a swing seat. But it has moved to the left in recent presidential elections. Democrat Joe Biden beat Donald Trump there by 11 points in November’s presidential election, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Kirkpatrick won reelection last fall by a similar margin. - CQ-Roll Call

Deborah Birx, ex-White House COVID-19 response coordinator, joins George W. Bush Institute

DALLAS - Deborah Birx, who served as the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, is joining the Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow, the organization announced Friday.

Birx will contribute to policy initiatives to better prepare the country for another pandemic at the George W. Bush Institute. This is one of her most recent moves after she was criticized by many as an apologist for Trump’s widely criticized coronavirus response. She retired from the White House task force as it transitioned to President Joe Biden’s administration.

Birx spent four decades as a public health official, with a large part of her career focused on combating the HIV and AIDS epidemic, including overseeing the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program Bush created. She had previously worked with the institute on its “Go Further” initiative to reduce cervical cancer among women with HIV living in sub-Saharan Africa.

“President and Mrs. Bush witnessed the impact of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic 20 years ago and responded by founding the Global Fund and PEPFAR,” Birx said in a press release. “They believed the crisis could be tackled with people, funding, and compassion for others. We can do the same today by confronting pandemics with empathy and unity in action.”

Holly Kuzmich, the Institute’s executive director, called Birx “an exemplary public servant and renowned expert in the medical field,” in a press release.

“We are grateful that she has brought her expertise, her commitment to saving lives, her compassionate heart, and her brilliant mind to the Bush Institute,” Kuzmich said.

Birx was a colonel in the U.S. Army and previously served at the ambassador level as the U.S. Global Aids coordinator before she was thrown into the national spotlight as the White House COVID response coordinator under Trump. - The Dallas Morning News

Bronze statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg unveiled in Brooklyn

NEW YORK - A 7-foot-tall bronze statue honoring late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was unveiled Friday morning in her Brooklyn hometown.

Borough President Eric Adams and Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte pulled a sheet off the 650-pound sculpture in the lobby of downtown Brooklyn’s City Point shopping center as cameras clicked.

“She kept that Brooklyn pride and stride as she sat on the bench,” said Adams. “She made it clear - right out of Midwood - that she was happy to be a Brooklynite.”

Brooklyn is returning the love. Her March 15, 1933, birthday will now be celebrated as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Day in the city’s most populous borough.

The liberal icon, who authored groundbreaking opinions and withering dissents during a 27-year run on the nation’s Supreme Court, died Sept. 18.

The statue, crafted by Australian artists Gillie and Marc Schattner, was planned before the justice’s death, and she was aware of the project, said Erica Roseman, a spokesperson for City Point.

The sculpture, made in Australia and then shipped to New York, shows the Columbia Law graduate standing in a judge’s robe, her hands clasped together.

The artists’ new work is one in a series honoring women. The project is intended to offer some balance in a city where depictions of men make up the vast majority of statues. - New York Daily News