The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.
Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.
Details: Moderna boosters may be given six months after completing the two-dose series while J&J boosters may be given two months after the initial jab, the FDA said in a statement.
The Moderna booster is half of the dose that is administered for a primary series dose.
The FDA recommends that people 65 and older as well as those over 18 with a higher risk of severe COVID or exposure to the virus receive a booster.
Some individuals will undoubtedly benefit from getting a booster shot, but experts say that the most important goal for the U.S. right now should be convincing vaccine holdouts to get their initial round of shots, Axios’ Caitlin Owens writes.
About 77% of the eligible U.S. population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, per the CDC.
What they’re saying: Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock said that the new recommendation is important for “continued protection” against COVID-19, citing data that suggest immunity in fully vaccinated people wanes over time.
“[S]cience has shown that vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective way to prevent COVID-19, including the most serious consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death,” Woodcock said.
A federal judge has stopped a New York Vaccine mandate for healthcare workers and sided with 17 healthcare workers who sued over the New York State vaccine mandate.
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The mandate of course would have lead to over 75,000 unemployed who were refusing the controversial vaccines.
Hurd granted an injunction against the mandate starting immediately while the case is tried.
He wrote, “There is no adequate explanation from defendants,” meaning the state, “about why the ‘reasonable accommodation’ that must be extended to a medically exempt health care worker under 2.61 could not similarly be extended to a healthcare worker with a sincere religious objection.”
New York is now barred from enforcing any requirement that employees deny religious exemptions to the Covid-19 vaccine mandates.
Hurd: “Unlike other judges who have heard similar cases about vaccine mandates, Judge Hurd” broke with the norm by prioritizing the U.S. Constitution. “The public interest lies with enforcing the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law.”
The New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a liberal who replaced Cuomo amid his scandal vowed to fight for the mandates, “I stand behind this mandate, and I will fight this decision in court,” said Hochul.
New York Governor candidate Andrew Giuliani, the son of legendary New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has made opposition to vaccine passports and mandates a central part of his campaign. Last month he appeared at a protest against the passport and mandate. “Government should not be involved in this decision, government has no place in this decision, political candidates do not belong in this decision,” said Giuliani.
“This has to be a personal choice, this has to be, and it has to be something that you end up talking with your doctors about and you make that decision based on the data and based on the science, not based off of political pressure.” He added, “It’s horrendous, this is beyond disgusting, this doesn’t even feel like America anymore.”
Thanks to our friends at National File for contributing to this article.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has listed Cambridge, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Newport as ports of entry under a proposed Stop the SURGE Act; that "would relocate illegal immigrants from South Texas to newly established ports of entry for processing". pic.twitter.com/2onqUYlCNu
Today, the Senate approved removal of a rider that had stifled conservation efforts for rapidly declining Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo by Vivek Khanzode
(Washington, D.C., October 18, 2021) The Senate FY 22 Interior Appropriations bill released today excludes a provision exempting protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the once-abundant but now rapidly declining Greater Sage-Grouse. The House of Representatives has already passed an Interior bill without the rider. Conservation groups are urging that the rider remain out of the final spending agreement.
“Our thanks to Senators Jeff Merkley and Patrick Leahy for showing exemplary conservation leadership by excluding the sage-grouse rider from the Interior bill,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy for American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “This exemption has been in place for nearly seven years. It’s time to once again give the grouse the possibility of ESA protection and the safety net it deserves.”
The Greater Sage-Grouse is the keystone species of sagebrush habitat in the American West. Conserving the grouse also supports 350 other species of conservation concern, including the Pronghorn, Pygmy Rabbit, Mule Deer, native trout, and nearly 200 migratory and western bird species.
As many as 16 million Greater Sage-Grouse once occurred across 297 million acres of sagebrush grasslands in the West. Today, the sagebrush biome and grouse populations continue to decline. Sage-grouse habitat is less than half of what it once was, diminished by invasive species, roads, overgrazing, mining, energy development, agricultural conversion, and fires. The grouse’s populations have declined 80 percent range-wide since 1965 and nearly 40 percent since 2002.
“A recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study provides an excellent resource to understand the magnitude of Greater Sage-Grouse loss, as well as the likelihood that grouse populations will continue to decline,” said Holmer. “It also shows that the species’ range will continue to contract absent substantial new conservation measures.”
The USGS report indicates that current management plans and other regulatory mechanisms are not sufficient to arrest the grouse’s ongoing decline, and that additional conservation measures are needed to stabilize the population.
“Efforts to revive the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy can best be accomplished, and will have a greater chance of success, if the Endangered Species Act listing moratorium is ended,” said Holmer.
American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).
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