The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its coronavirus booster shot guidance Monday following the emergence of the new omicron COVID-19 variant, now recommending all adults get a booster shot.
Previous CDC guidance said everyone over 50 or living in a long-term care facility “should” get a booster, while all other adults “may” get boosters at least six months after their previous shots. According to the CDC, all adults must get a booster.
Omicron, discovered last week in South Africa, could fuel a global surge of COVID-19 cases with “severe consequences,” the World Health Organization said.
The WHO said there is currently no information to suggest symptoms connected with omicron differ from those associated with other variants. The WHO stated that no deaths have been linked to the Omicron variant. However, it said preliminary evidence raises the possibility the variant has mutations that could help it both evade an immune-system response and make it more transmissible.
President Joe Biden addressed the variant’s threat Monday, again urging Americans to get vaccinated and booster shots.
Biden stated that the variant was a reason for concern and not panic. “We now have the best tools available to defeat this variant,” Biden said.
According to CDC data about 20% of all fully-vaccinated people have had a booster shot.
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►Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its booster shot for 16- and 17-year-olds in the next few days, The Washington Post reported.
► Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the omicron variant may worsen supply-chain disruptions and inflation in a testimony released Monday.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 48 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 778,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global sum: Over 262,000,000 cases, 5.2 Million deaths. Nearly 196 million Americans — roughly 59.3% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘This is what we are reading American travelers packed flights to reach new heights during the Thanksgiving holiday. The omicron variation will continue to impact the rebound.
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Federal workers who aren’t vaccinated won’t lose their jobs during the holiday season, despite not meeting deadline
Most federal workers who failed to meet the Nov. 22 deadline to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will not risk being suspended or losing their jobs until next year, the Biden administration said in enforcement guidance Monday.
Instead, managers will continue “with robust education and counseling efforts through this holiday season as the first step in an enforcement process,” according to the guidance.
Ninety-two percent of federal workers received at least one dose of the vaccine by the deadline, the administration announced last week. The rest have either not complied with the president’s mandate or asked to be exempted for religious or medical reasons.
While some agencies may need to accelerate enforcement if there are workplace safety issues or performance problems, agencies were encouraged not to take actions beyond education, counseling or, at most, a letter of reprimand until January.
The next step after a letter is suspension for a period of 14 days or less.
Workers who do not have an exemption and are still unvaccinated can be terminated.
— Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
According to Defense Secretary, the Oklahoma National Guard should be vaccinated
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that Oklahoma National Guard members must be vaccinated for COVID-19 no matter what their status is or personal beliefs. Kevin Stitt on Monday.
The Oklahoma governor sent a letter to the defense secretary earlier this month requesting that members of the Oklahoma National Guard be exempted from the Defense Department’s vaccination mandate, which covers active-duty personnel, Guard, Reserves and civilian workers.
Austin rejected the governor’s proposal, and told him in a letter that guard members who don’t get vaccinated may be barred from participating in drills and training, and their status in the Guard could be jeopardized.
“To maintain a healthy and ready military force capable of protecting the American people, the immediate vaccination against COVID-19 is an essential military readiness requirement for all components and units of the military, including the Oklahoma National Guard,” Austin said in a letter to Stitt dated Monday.
— Chris Casteel, The Oklahoman
Contributing: The Associated Press