Author

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covers education, health care and the legislature. She previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

‘Road to hell’: Students who faced abuse at Missouri boarding schools call for action

By: - February 10, 2021

Thrown to the ground and restrained for hours. Forced to eat food they had thrown up. Silenced with duct-tape over their mouths. Beaten without immediate medical care. Those were just some of instances of the horrific physical and sexual abuse former residents, parents and staff described witnessing in youth residential facilities within Missouri and across […]

St. Louis County sounds alarm at dwindling COVID vaccine supply, appointments may pause

By: - February 8, 2021

Last week, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health was listed along with St. Louis’ four major hospital systems as a “high throughput” provider that would be receiving a portion of 15,600 doses allocated to the region each week to administer to residents. But according to an email sent by St. Louis County Executive […]

With Affordable Care Act in danger, Missouri GOP push pre-existing conditions shield

By: - February 8, 2021

It’s been nearly three months since Rep. Brenda Shields was diagnosed with COVID-19, but her lung issues still persist. Shields said she feels her condition improving every day, but she still has difficulty breathing — especially when she exerts even a small amount of energy. Lawmakers are concerned the pandemic will add to the more […]

Missouri data shows expanding ‘vaccine deserts’ in St. Louis and Kansas City metros

By: - February 4, 2021

An expanding portion of St. Louis and Kansas City are considered “vaccine deserts,” or areas with limited-to-no access to the COVID-19 vaccine, according to analysis by a consulting firm hired by the state. Vaccine deserts are expanding in the state’s biggest cities despite shrinking for the rest of the state as more providers begin administering […]

Calls grow for Missouri to expand underlying conditions eligible for COVID vaccine

By: - February 3, 2021

It’s been 15 years since Julie Vomund had cancer, but its effects still linger.  At 19 years old, Vomund was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that originates in white blood cells called lymphocytes. One of the side effects her treatment left her with was bleomycin toxicity, which can cause lung […]

COVID liability advances in Missouri Senate, expands to shield religious orgs

By: - February 3, 2021

Churches would be immune from most lawsuits alleging COVID was contracted on their premises after an exemption was carved out for religious organizations during the Senate’s first filibuster of the session Tuesday over liability protections for businesses and healthcare providers. After nearly 15 hours of debate and negotiations behind the scenes, legislation sponsored by Sen. […]

If Missouri’s providers aren’t using vaccine promptly, their future shipments may decrease

By: - January 29, 2021

The same day the state launched a new dashboard detailing the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed throughout Missouri, state officials made it clear that local providers must move more quickly to administer doses and report data — or risk seeing future shipments decrease.  And that warning comes from the governor himself.  “The comment that […]

Missouri health director says he’ll testify to lawmakers on vaccine rollout next week

By: - January 28, 2021

Democratic lawmakers expressed frustration this week when two key figures leading Missouri’s vaccine distribution abruptly canceled their scheduled testimony before a House committee Wednesday evening. However, Randall Williams, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said the time of the hearing was changed without checking with him — and that he offered […]

Missouri legislators, staff receive COVID vaccine intended for other state employees

By: and - January 27, 2021

Some Missouri state lawmakers received the initial doses of COVID vaccine Wednesday at an event that was intended for employees from Missouri’s Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation. Ahead of Gov. Mike Parson’s State of the State speech, Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate were seen entering and leaving the […]

Black Missourians have only received 4% of the COVID vaccines administered so far

By: - January 26, 2021

Black residents in Missouri have received roughly 4 percent of the total COVID vaccines administered, despite making up 11 percent of the population, according to a new dashboard the state launched Tuesday. The dashboard sheds light for the first time on detailed demographic data and a county-by-county breakdown of where COVID vaccines have been given […]

Missouri ranks last in residents vaccinated, near bottom in percent of vaccines administered

By: - January 25, 2021

Out of the 50 states, Missouri ranks last in the nation in terms of the percentage of its residents who have received the initial shot of a COVID vaccine.  Only 4 percent of Missouri residents have received the first of two shots, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled by […]

Mass COVID vaccinations are starting in Missouri. But supply of doses remains limited

By: - January 22, 2021

Mass vaccinations are already underway across the state, with the Missouri National Guard activated to help get shots in arms at its first event in Poplar Bluff Friday. But with demand still outpacing the state’s limited supply, some public health officials on the state’s Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution expressed concern Thursday that […]