Federal Vaccine Mandate Deadline Triggers Vaccinations and Protests

This moment has been eagerly awaited in America, where 76 percent of the nation’s people have had at least one shot of the vaccine.

Deadlines are fast approaching in workplaces that require employees to receive injections to fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, or to risk losing their jobs. This led to several rejections from employees.

In Los Angeles, sheriff Alex Villanueva said he would not enforce the county’s vaccine mandate against its 18,000 employees.

“There is a group of employees who are willing to be fired or laid off rather than being vaccinated. I don’t want to be in the position of losing 5.10 percent of my workforce overnight because of the vaccine mandate,” he explained.

The tension comes as the daily rate of COVID-19 infections in the US has fallen to around 95,000 cases. The decline was the largest from the recent peak of COVID-19 cases in September of 172,000 cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the global outbreak.

Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading U.S. infectious disease expert on CNN’s “State of the Union” program said he was optimistic about the pandemic’s progress, but it was too early to repeal pandemic restrictions such as the use of masks.

“I would like to see it well below 10,000 and even well below that. But when we’re at the 95,000 level, it’s still a situation where we have a dynamic level of viral circulation in society,” he explained.

Health officials are expected to meet later this month to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency approval for children ages five to 11 to get the vaccine. Pfizer has proposed giving children one-third of the adult dose.

Scott Gottlieb.

Scott Gottlieb.

Former Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb, who sits on Pfizer’s board of directors, told CBS television’s “Face the Nation” program that the vaccine mandate for schoolchildren would likely be delayed for years.

“12-17 years could be a few more years, maybe a little longer. I think 5 to 11 years is even longer than that. We’re going to need more experience with these kids.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has pledged $1 billion to buy millions of COVID-19 rapid test kits that can be used at home amid reports of a shortage of test kits across the country. The White House said the US would have a supply of 200 million tools per month by December. [my/jm]

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