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HEALTH CARE NOTEBOOK: Lawmakers back vet therapy dogs | Shots for elderly not yet halfway

by Kat Stromquist | March 7, 2021 at 8:22 a.m.

Lawmakers back vet therapy dogs

All four members of Arkansas' House delegation are original co-sponsors of a bill that aims to increase veterans' access to therapy dogs.

H.R. 1448 directs the secretary of veterans affairs to carry out a pilot program on dog training therapy and to provide service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses.

As of Friday, 216 representatives -- both Democrats and Republicans -- had sponsored the bill introduced Monday.

It has been referred to a committee for review.

Shots for elderly not yet halfway

No state has yet vaccinated at least half of its adults over age 65 against covid-19, according to a new analysis from health policy nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

The analysis reviewed data from 33 states and Washington, D.C., which reported those numbers as of late February. Arkansas was among states that hadn't made that information available, researchers said.

North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and South Carolina had vaccinated a larger percentage of the older adults group than the national average, with 49% of those people in North Carolina receiving at least one dose of vaccine.

Vermont, Washington and Pennsylvania had the smallest percentage of the 65-plus group who'd received a vaccine by last month, though the area that covers Philadelphia was not included in the analysis, a summary said.

Older adults were prioritized to receive the vaccine because they are at a greater risk of serious illness or death during the coronavirus pandemic. People in most states over age 65 now qualify for the shots.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 54 million people in the U.S. have received their first vaccine doses.

Around 27 million people over age 18 -- or roughly one in 10 American adults -- were fully vaccinated with two-dose regimens, the public health agency said on its website.

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