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States Respond to COVID-19: Pandemic in State-of-the-State Addresses

Significantly fewer governors focused on COVID-19 in state-of-the-state speeches this year compared with 2021.

A National Academy of State Health Policy analysis of 41 state-of-the-state addresses found 17 governors discussed COVID-19 in their addresses, with key themes including:

  • opposition to vaccine mandates: Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) noted the state will continue to defend residents’ right to make their own medical decisions about vaccines, and Missouri, Nebraska, and Virginia governors described continued efforts to oppose vaccine mandates;
  • workforce shortages: Democratic Govs. David Ige from Hawaii and Laura Kelly from Kansas discussed critical health care workforce shortages; and
  • access to COVID-19 vaccines: Govs. Janet Mills (D) of Maine, John Carney (D) of Delaware, and Mike Parson (R) of Missouri noted continued efforts in making vaccinations accessible for all.

COVID-19 public health emergencies (PHEs) have expired in 28 states. Active PHEs remain in 22 states:  Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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