According to Wednesday’s White House statement, more than 900,000.000 children between 5 and 11 years will have received their COVID-19 shots within the week that the vaccines became available.

Jeff Zients (President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator) said that another 700,000 shots had been ordered in pharmacies just for children of elementary school age.

“Parents and families across the country are breathing giant sighs of relief, and we are just getting started,” Zients said at a White House briefing on the rollout.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for the shipment and packaging of vaccines that are administered in lower doses than the ones given to adults on October 29. Much work needs to be done – the U.S. has about 28 million children ages 5-11. Over 20,000 vaccinations sites, from schools to pediatric doctors’ offices, are up and running and more are coming soon, Zients said.

We don’t know what effect vaccine hesitancy may have on the rollout. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky strongly supports vaccination for that age group. 

“COVID-19 poses a significant risk to our children,” she said at the briefing. Children are still more susceptible to this virus than adults. However, vaccines have the potential of preventing COVID-19 from becoming fatal.

You can also find the latest news here:

►The U.S. has negotiated a deal to distribute Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine to people living in conflict zones, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. He didn’t specify how many doses. 

►Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that given the widespread availability of vaccines and improved treatments against COVID-19, there “should be no need for remote or hybrid learning.”

►The NFL fined Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for violating COVID-19 protocols. The league conducted a review of Rodgers’ and the Packers’ activities related to protocol after the quarterback tested positive for COVID last week.

📈The numbers today: The U.S. has recorded more than 46.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 758,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 251 million cases and 5 million deaths. More than 194.4 million Americans – 58.5% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 We’re looking at: Are you vaxxed? Many families are divided by jabs.

For the most recent news, keep checking this page. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox, and join our Facebook group.

Judge blocks Texas governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that bans schools from imposing mask mandates cannot be enforced because it violates federal law by putting students with disabilities at greater risk.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel also blocked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from bringing legal action against school districts that require students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings as a pandemic safety measure.

Yeakel’s injunction also blocked state officials from imposing fines or withholding state money from districts with mask mandates.

Paxton — who has filed lawsuits to overturn mask mandates in 15 school districts, and who has threatened similar action against dozens more — is expected to appeal the ruling.

Ruling in favor of seven students with various disabilities and medical conditions, Yeakel said Abbott’s order — issued July 29 and known as GA-38 — violates the Americans With Disabilities Act by denying the students the opportunity to participate equally in school.

— Chuck Lindel, Austin American-Statesman

Studies show that vaccinations have shown to be safe and effective for patients suffering from cancer.

Cancer patients don’t generate quite as strong an immune response from COVID-19 vaccines, but they’re better off getting them, especially the mRNA ones. Also, booster shots are helpful.

These are the key conclusions from a recent study on the effectiveness of vaccines in protecting patients with cancer. Patients who have been treated are particularly vulnerable because of their compromised immune system.

The vaccines are safe, and their effectiveness on cancer patients is only modestly reduced compared to healthy individuals, according to a study of 1,001 patients with different forms of cancer at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The report was published Wednesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Chemotherapy modestly reduced immune responses, but not as much as patients and clinicians initially feared,” said co-lead investigator Dr. Vivek Naranbhai, a clinical fellow at the hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Cancer patients had a stronger immune response to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines – both of which use mMRA technology – than to the Johnson and Johnson shot. All three were able to prevent severe illness, and each was enhanced with boosters.

Although they allow exemptions, Universities have a strong support system for vaccines.

Despite sometimes granting exemptions generously, universities that implemented COVID-19 vaccine requirements in the fall term have seen a high degree of compliance, and much higher inoculation rates than the communities around them.

Some schools are in good compliance at some universities, especially the flagship state universities in Maryland and Illinois. They have prevented large-scale outbreaks such as those which disrupted classes one year ago.

At Ohio University’s campus in Athens, the vaccination rate among students and staff  rose from 69% to almost 85% after the mandate was adopted two months ago.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, at least 1100 universities and colleges now need proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.

As infections decline in Europe, they increase in Europe

Europe accounted for almost two-thirds of the 3.1 million new coronavirus infections worldwide last week, when it was the only region that had a steady increase in both COVID-19 cases and deaths, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. This was the sixth week in a row that virus transmission across Europe has increased.

In Europe, deaths rose 10%. The WHO considers Russia to be part of the European Region. The week saw an increase in cases of 1.7 million, or 7%.

U.S.A., Russia. Britain. Turkey, and Germany had the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases. With the exception of Europe, there was a drop in weekly COVID-19 death rates by around 4%.

Study finds that sleep disorders are linked with a higher COVID death rate and hospitalizations

A study in JAMA Network Open published Wednesday found that people suffering from certain sleep disorders are more likely to die or be hospitalized due to COVID-19. The data was analyzed by Cleveland Clinic researchers from almost 360,000 COVID-19-positive patients. Of these, 5,400 had available records of their sleep studies. The study found that patients with sleep disordered breathing or sleep-related hypoxia were more likely to have a poorer clinical outcome after COVID-19. This study did not include other conditions, such as cancer, obesity, heart or lung disease, and smoking.

“If indeed sleep-related hypoxia translates to worse COVID-19 outcomes, risk stratification strategies should be implemented to prioritize early allocation of COVID-19 therapy to this subgroup of patients,” said Dr. Cinthya Peña Orbea, study author and sleep specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center.

Researchers found that these patients did not suffer from a worse outcome due to COVID-19.

Adrianna Rodriguez

Florida county mourns 9 virus deaths in one sheriff’s department

A bell solemnly tolled nine times in Broward County, Florida, at a memorial service Tuesday for sheriff’s department employees who died from the coronavirus. Sheriff Gregory Tony was flanked by an honor guard as American flags were placed in the hands of the victims’ relatives.

“We didn’t lose one, two, three – we lost nine,” the sheriff said.

Tony said more than half the the department’s 5,600 employees have been exposed, and 32% – 1,800 employees – have contracted the disease, which has killed more than 60,000 Floridians and more than 750,000 Americans. The county does not require employees to be vaccinated, but offers a $500 bonus for those who provide proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated employees face a biweekly surcharge of $20 toward the additional cost of health insurance as well as weekly COVID testing. 

Pfizer CEO labels those who spread vaccine misinformation as ‘criminals’

“Professionals” who purposely spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines are criminals, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says. Bourla spoke to the Atlantic Council, stating that there is a divide in the world between those who have had their vaccines and those who don’t. Both groups, he said, are driven by fear – vaccinated people are afraid of contracting COVID-19 and unvaccinated people are “skeptical” of the vaccine and “mad that people are pressing them to get it. Those I understand. They are very good people, decent people.”

But Bourla has less empathy or understanding for what he said are the “small” number of people who have knowingly circulated misinformation. Those people can’t be qualified just as bad people, he said, adding: “They are criminals. They have literally cost millions of lives.”

This interview was streamed live online. You can view the replay here.

3,158 people claimed damages from COVID treatment: None has been paid

More than 3,100 claims alleging injuries from COVID-19 vaccines and treatments have been filed with the federal Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program during the pandemic. One hundred and fifty-six claims allege that the COVID-19 vaccination caused injuries or death. All claims are pending, but none have been settled and only two cases of vaccine-related injuries have been denied. One COVID-19 case has not been considered eligible for compensation. However, program staffers continue to review allowable expenses. This leaves over 3,000 cases under review.You can read more about it here.

Christy Choi (a spokesperson for the Health Resources and Services Administration that runs the compensation program) stated, “We strive to process claims as quickly as possible.” “About 90%” of the claims are in waiting for medical records to be reviewed.

Ken Alltucker

San Francisco police officer dies while on leave after failing to get vaccinated

A police officer who was placed on leave for missing San Francisco’s deadline to be inoculated has died after being stricken by COVID-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. His wife Melissa Nyce said that Officer Jack Nyce (46) had tested positive for COVID-19 on November 2nd and passed away Saturday in Manteca. The Chronicle reports that Melissa Nyce did not confirm that her husband had received vaccinations. However, the vice president of the Police Officers Association, Lt. Tracy McCray, said Jack Nyce was on a 30-day stint of paid administrative leave because he had not received the vaccination required by the city.

Last week, the Police Department stated that 70 civil and sworn personnel had been put on leave because they failed to comply with the Nov. 1, vaccination deadline. 97% of employees in the department were now fully vaccinated as of November 2,

Contributing to The Associated Press



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