This week, Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) president, and Polly Tommey, co-producer of “Vaxxed,” cover the latest COVID headlines, including news that Bill Gates warned governments must prepare for smallpox terror attacks by investing billions in research and development, and frozen vials labeled “smallpox” were discovered in a freezer at a vaccine research facility in Pennsylvania. The vials “contain no trace of virus known to cause smallpox” but do contain the virus found in the smallpox vaccine.
Also on tap this week: Child health experts hope community clinics, in-person classes, well-child visits and the rollout of COVID vaccines for children could help boost routine childhood immunizations, which dropped during the pandemic.
Plus, 5- to 11-year-olds preparing to receive a COVID vaccine can also receive other protective shots they may have missed during lockdown. For some children, that could mean five or six shots in a single visit.
Polly and Mary also discussed that all Disney Cruise Line guests ages five and over will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination as of Jan. 13 on national and international trips. Plus, Scotland plans to investigate a large spike in the number of deaths of newborn babies.
Here are more of this week’s highlights:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID vaccine booster shots for all U.S. adults, after reviewing new data supporting the extra doses. “It’s very troubling,” said Mary.
The definition of “fully vaccinated” may change from two jabs to three jabs — or, in the case of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, two — with the initial shot(s) and a booster. “This is not a new phenomenon,” said Mary.
As cases of COVID-19 rise throughout the U.S., health officials warn an increasing number of fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized or going to the emergency room. “We know where this is going,” said Polly.
In the U.S. and Germany, officials have used the term pandemic of the unvaccinated, but increasing evidence suggests vaccinated individuals play a relevant role in transmission. “It’s nice to see this from the Lancet,” said Mary.
On the latest episode of The Hill’s “Rising,” journalist and political commentator Kim Iversen discussed strict lockdowns for the unvaccinated only in Austria, and the UK’s new policy requiring three shots as proof of being “fully vaccinated.” “She is absolutely right about this,” said Mary. “There is serious pushback at this point against these mandates.”
According to MintPress News, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated at least $319 million to fund media projects at hundreds of organizations including CNN, NBC, NPR, PBS and The Atlantic. The donations raise questions about those news outlets’ ability to report objectively on Gates and his work. “Read the article and see a proper breakdown on this,” said Polly.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the National Institutes of Health (NIH) leadership should resign, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. “This voice is important,” said Mary.
Pfizer miscounted the number of deaths in one of the most important clinical trials in the history of medicine, its COVID vaccine trial. “This is another stunning article,” said Mary. “This is so significant.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it suspended vaccine mandates to comply with a Nov. 12 ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals barring the agency from enforcing them pending judicial review. “This is big news,” said Mary. “Stay tuned.”
The NIH has engaged Moderna in “good faith discussions” to resolve a months-long dispute over the company’s patent application that advocates say could impact global production of the shots. “It’s all about the money,” said Mary.
The refusal of the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard to enforce the Pentagon’s COVID vaccine mandate opened up a dispute about the limits of the federal government’s authority and the chain of command of the military. “Stand firm,” said Polly.
U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth warned members of the National Guard they may be barred from “continued service” if they refuse to get vaccinated against COVID. “This is a really interesting dispute,” said Mary. “A story we are absolutely going to have to watch.”
Health officials recommend hunters wear masks when they’re out hunting deer to protect themselves from COVID. “What an article,” said Polly.
A source who works with Bank of America disclosed a pilot program beginning Nov. 18 that plans to separate vaccinated from unvaccinated employees. “It’s straight-up segregation,” said Mary.
Crowds will be permitted to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square this year but everyone ages 5 and up must bring proof of full vaccination and a valid photo ID. “Not surprising,” said Polly.
The Australian Open will require all tennis players to be fully vaccinated against COVID. “The death rate in athletes has been really significant,” said Mary. “Kudos to those standing up for their rights.”
The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory announced a harsh lockdown, putting people into quarantine who are testing positive or in close contact with those with COVID. “Things are scary in Australia,” said Polly.
“By the end of this winter everyone in Germany will either be vaccinated, recovered or dead,” Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, told a news conference in Berlin. “This was shocking to me,” said Polly.
Nearly 40,000 protesters descended on Belgium’s capital in a revolt against strict anti-COVID measures. “People are not putting up with this,” said Mary. “This is happening across Europe.” Polly agreed. “These people are fighting for their lives,” she said.
Tens of thousands of people protested in Vienna against COVID restrictions after Austria’s government announced a new lockdown and said vaccines would be made compulsory next year. “Let’s see where this goes,” said Mary.
The UK could go the way of Austria, Germany and other European nations by placing lockdown-style restrictions on unvaccinated people, a public health expert warned.
The government of Gibraltar canceled official Christmas celebrations despite having high vaccine uptake and a low number of COVID cases. “It all seems to be ramping up,” said Polly.
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