Air Force Says Nearly 8,500 Miss Deadline for COVID Shots
Nearly 8,500 active duty members of the Air Force and Space Force have missed the deadline for getting COVID-19 vaccinations, including 800 who flatly refused and nearly 5,000 with pending requests for a religious exemption, the Air Force said Wednesday.
Tuesday was the Air Force deadline for all active duty members to receive vaccinations. The Air Force deadline was the first of all the military services, providing an initial glimpse into how America’s military will handle the mandate.
The Air Force said that by Dec. 2 it would complete its review of requests for medical and religious exemptions. Thus far, a total of 1,866 requests for medical or administrative exemptions have been approved. It said zero requests for religious exemptions have been approved.
New York Health Workers Ask Supreme Court to Block State’s Vaccine Mandate
This challenge is nearly identical to a recent case brought by healthcare workers in Maine. Last week, the court allowed Maine’s mandate to go forward over the objection of three justices.
The latest dispute is brought by a nurse, Diana Bono, who lost her job because she has religious objections to the mandate, as well as two others who say they face the “imminent loss” of their employment and a group called We The Patriots USA Inc.
They are suing the state, arguing that while the mandate allows an exemption for those with medical objections, there is no exemption for people with religious objections.
Vaccine or Test: Biden Advances Sweeping New Mandates for Private Sector
It’s likely to become President Joe Biden’s most hotly contested COVID policy yet: a sweeping nationwide safety standard for the American workplace that demands large businesses require their employees to either get the vaccine or test regularly.
The temporary emergency rule would apply to every U.S. private business that employs 100 workers or more — from grocery clerks to meatpacking plant employees — impacting some 80 million Americans.
Details were expected to be released as early as Thursday on the rule, drafted by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.
Unvaccinated? Don’t Count On Leaving Your Family Death Benefits
These days, workers who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 may face financial repercussions, from higher health insurance premiums to loss of their jobs. Now, the financial fallout might follow workers beyond the grave. If they die of COVID and weren’t vaccinated, their families may not get death benefits they would otherwise have received.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority no longer pays a $500,000 death benefit to the families of subway, bus and commuter rail workers who die of COVID if the workers were unvaccinated at the time of death.
FDNY ‘Sickout’ Intensifies Drama Over Vaccine Mandate
In New York City, an irregular number of more than 2,000 firefighters took medical leave in a “sickout” over the past week as the vaccination deadline passed. In response, these first responders have faced accusations from officials that those misusing sick leave are neglecting their oath and endangering the safety of city residents.
Worries have emerged that the move could be utilized beyond New York City and across the U.S. in a potential new phase of the pandemic.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Doubles Down On Not Enforcing Vaccine Mandate as He Warns of Mass Exodus of Deputies
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva warned Tuesday of a possible public safety threat due to a “mass exodus” of deputies from the department and blamed the county’s vaccine mandate.
Days after the county deadline, Villanueva said he wouldn’t enforce the mandate.
On Tuesday, Villanueva said only about 42% of the department’s sworn personnel have been vaccinated and 3,137 deputies are at risk of termination due to the mandate. And, the sheriff said, many unvaccinated deputies are voluntarily leaving the department to escape the vaccination requirement.
No L.A. Unified Vaccine Mandate so Far for Students Ages 5 to 11
The Los Angeles school district is not requiring students ages 5 to 11 to get COVID-19 vaccines, although the shots will be available on campus if parents want their children to be inoculated.
Students 12 and older are still required to be fully vaccinated in the L.A. Unified School District by Jan. 10, one of six schools systems in California with various versions of a student mandate.
“We are delighted to be able to offer voluntary vaccine access to students in this age group,” according to a district statement. “The COVID-19 vaccine is highly encouraged for children ages 5 to 11. However, it will not be part of Los Angeles Unified’s current student vaccine requirement.”
Analysis: Wide Array of Opponents Prepare to Fight Biden Vaccine Mandate
The country’s first national COVID-19 vaccine mandate, expected to be unveiled by the Biden administration this week, is likely to unleash a frenzied legal battle that will hinge on a rarely used law and questions over federal power and authority over healthcare.
States, companies, trade groups, civil liberty advocates and religious organizations are expected to rush to court with demands to stop the mandate in its tracks. Two dozen Republican state attorneys general have already vowed to use “every legal option” to fight the mandate and 40 Republican lawmakers said on Wednesday they were preparing their own challenge.
Senate Republicans to Formally Disapprove, Nullify Biden Vaccine Mandate On Private Employees
More than three dozen Senate Republicans are moving to formally disapprove and nullify President Biden’s vaccine mandate on private employees Wednesday under the Congressional Review Act — the official process for Congress to eliminate an executive branch rule.
Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana is leading 41 Republican senators on Wednesday to “strike down” Biden’s rule, which mandates employees — at private businesses with 100 workers or more — to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
Republicans blasted the mandate, which Biden introduced in September, and the forthcoming formal rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is expected to be released in the coming days — calling it “unacceptable” and an order that “warrants review by Congress.”
Palmdale Wants to Challenge L.A. County’s COVID Vaccine Mandate
The city of Palmdale is looking into how it can challenge an L.A. County mandate requiring residents to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor bars, wineries, nightclubs and lounges, becoming another focal point in the debate over personal freedom and public health.
Palmdale City Council members on Oct. 20 voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to report back with options to push against the rules, whether by resolution, ordinance, lawsuit or other measure.
“It is an overreach to sit here and demand an invasive medical procedure,” Mayor Steven Hofbauer said during a phone interview Tuesday, calling the notion of a forced health measure “Orwellian.” Hofbauer chose to get vaccinated after contracting the coronavirus early this year. The mayor said he has since suffered from serious vaccine side effects, including the development of pancreatitis and pericarditis.
This Thought Experiment Captures Facebook’s Betrayal of Users’ Privacy
Imagine that right now the postman is reading your mail and making a note of your most private thoughts and preferences. He notices that you lean slightly to the right and read the Wall Street Journal. He begins hawking your intimate information all over town and sells it to a newspaper further to the right of the WSJ.
By selling your information, the postman becomes rich, exceedingly rich — the richest person in your community. You confront him to say that you don’t consent to being a product to be sold to the highest bidder, and find out he is reading the mail of half the people on the planet.
When experts talk about social media, you’ll hear a lot about abstract and fuzzy concepts such as the algorithm, transparency and privacy, but they all boil down to whether you want to be a commodity and have no control over who you are sold to.
Montana’s Governor Nixed a Kids’ Vaccine Campaign, so Health Officials Plan Their Own
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration quashed plans for a public service campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible teenagers over the summer, a former state health official said.
That has led public health and medical experts to plan their own ad campaigns, in anticipation of the administration not publicly backing shots for kids 5 and up when doses for those children roll out.
A state endorsement and ad campaign on television, radio and the internet could encourage and persuade undecided parents to get their kids vaccinated.
With Facebook, Privacy Is a Thing of the Past. Can MeWe Change That?
Most recently, we learned that Facebook circumvents user permissions on iPhone. Even if you turn off location permissions, Facebook can access your phone’s accelerometer, according to Forbes. This is a built-in tool that keeps track of the way you tilt your iPhone.
Your accelerometer is made up of motion sensors that analyze your vibrations and movements. It’s helpful when you’re using compass apps and even sleep apps. It’s also beneficial for tech companies that want to harvest your data.
Despite Zuckerberg’s disregard for privacy, other tech leaders see a better way. Take MeWe founder Mark Weinstein, for example. He’s a direct competitor with Zuckerberg, so he knows Facebook’s tricks pretty well.
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