/ Modified apr 1, 2021 3:57 p.m.

News roundup: AZ Senate considers ban on COVID vaccine requirements, UA study demonstrates vaccine’s efficacy

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 1.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 842,192 | Deaths 16,977

On Thursday, April 1, Arizona recorded 381 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths. About 30% of Arizonans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Associated Press reports.

State Senate panel moves to ban COVID-19 vaccine requirements


Private businesses and local governments in Arizona would be prohibited from requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine under the provisions of a bill passed Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The proposal, sponsored by Republican Sen. Kelly Townsend, would also prohibit businesses or local governments from refusing service to anyone who is not vaccinated.

Townsend told the committee that the pandemic has forced people to give up their rights and it is time to stand up for those who don’t want the vaccine.

The bill passed on a party-line vote but not before Democratic Senator Tony Navarrete told the committee he found the Republican arguments ironic based on previous stances.

Learn more here.

HEROES study: COVID vaccines 90% effective


A University of Arizona Health Sciences study has found that first responders are one of the groups most at risk of catching the coronavirus. It is one of the studies the Centers for Disease Control cited in a report confirming the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 90% effective.

The Arizona HEROES project involves tracking COVID-19 among people in occupations that pose a high risk of exposure to the virus.

The study found the real-world effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines confirmed results from the drug companies' own clinical trials.

Learn more here.

State Senate committee takes aim at abortion


New legislation would make abortion illegal if a fetal heartbeat is detected, something doctors say happens between four and six weeks of pregnancy.

The amendments to House Bill 2140 would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. It would also allow other staff members in the facility where the abortion is performed to be charged.

The proposal, which passed on a party-line vote, would also allow the father to sue the doctor if an abortion is performed.

The bill still must pass the full Arizona Senate and House.

Learn more here.

Arizona House OKs bill banning abortion for genetic issues


PHOENIX — The Republican-controlled Arizona House approved a sweeping abortion bill making it a felony for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy because the child has a survivable genetic abnormality and imposing a raft of other provisions.

Democrats contend the proposal unnecessarily adds to the state’s already tough restrictions on abortion.

The proposal backed by anti-abortion groups also contains a ban on mail delivery of abortion-inducing medication, confers all civil rights to unborn children and requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated.

The Senate must agree with the House changes before it heads to GOP Gov. Doug Ducey's desk.

Learn more here.

Mining company makes copper discovery south of Tucson


A Canadian-based mining company says it has found significant copper deposits on the western part of the Santa Rita Mountains, potentially warranting open pit mining near residents south of Tucson.

Hudbay Minerals Inc. said Wednesday that drilling at its Copper World deposits found higher copper grades closer to the surface than were found at its adjacent Rosemont Mine east of the mountain range.

But some residents in the area have expressed concerns about the potential new project, the visibility of mining operations and already declining groundwater supplies.

Hudbay must now conduct additional drilling and completion of a feasibility study before it can file mining proposals.

Learn more here.

Arizona vaccination rate for COVID passes 30% of population


PHOENIX — Arizona on Thursday reported 381 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths as the number of people who have received at least one dose of vaccine passed 30% of the state's population.

The state’s pandemic totals increased to 842,192 cases and 16,977 deaths.

According to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, nearly 2.2 million people have received at least one dose, including nearly 1.4 million people who are fully vaccinated.

There were 604 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient hospital beds as of Wednesday, the 12th day that the number of hospitalizations has hovered around 600.

Learn more here.


Navajo Nation has no COVID-19 deaths for 6th time in 11 days


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 15 new COVID-19 cases, but no deaths for the third time in the past four days and sixth time in the last 11 days.

Tribal health officials say the latest figures bring the total number of cases since the pandemic started to 30,095 with the known death toll remaining at 1,247.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The Navajo Nation reservation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Learn more here.

More workers to be added at state-run COVID-19 vaccine sites


PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey says more workers are being added to meet the high demand at state-run COVID-19 vaccine sites.

State health officials said Tuesday they were experiencing long lines outside State Farm Stadium in Glendale, citing multiple issues including the hot weather.

Ducey says state staff members are stepping up to supplement existing paid staff and volunteers at vaccine sites. Nearly 90 additional National Guard personnel will also join the vaccination effort Thursday.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Arizona health officials reported 733 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 26 more deaths. But officials said about 200 of the additional cases were from records cleanups involving cases occurring over the entire pandemic.

Learn more here.

Republicans abruptly halt debate on Arizona election bill


PHOENIX — An Arizona election bill to purge inconsistent voters from the popular permanent early voting list is in limbo. The state House took the highly unusual step Thursday of cutting off debate.

The bill would remove people who don’t return their mail ballot for two consecutive election cycles from the permanent list, which allows voters to automatically receive a ballot before each election. About 75% of Arizona voters are on the list.

Democrats say the measure would disenfranchise voters, with an especially strong impact on people of color. Republicans say it would affect only people who’ve shown they’re not interested in voting by mail.

Learn more here.

CEO of firm eyeing ballots appeared to make political posts


PHOENIX — The CEO of a company hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to lead a recount of all 2.1 million ballots cast in the state’s most populous county in November appears to have posted sympathetically about election conspiracies in a now-deleted Twitter account.

Senate President Karen Fann announced Wednesday that the audit of Maricopa County results would be led by Florida-based cyber security company Cyber Ninjas.

An archive that appears to be Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan’s Twitter account shows he shared memes popular with people promoting disproven or unsupported allegations casting doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory.

Learn more here.

Global Vaccine Disparities Pose Unique Challenges For Border Communities

Fronteras Desk

Recently, the U.S. announced its intention to send 2.5 million doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine to Mexico, a move Javid LLC’s Rubin applauded. Doses started arriving this week.

But some feel much more needs to be done to close the yawning global vaccine gaps.

“Basically, the majority of vaccination is happening in 10 countries,” said Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni, a senior policy adviser to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of groups including UNAIDS and Oxfam that is pushing for free, not-for-profit global vaccine access.

To quickly and equitably meet global demand, she said that vaccine technology needs to be shared, and intellectual property needs to be waived, so that more of the crucial medicine can be made around the world.

Learn more here.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona