Cases are increasing among children, new masks and vaccines warrants come into effect, and the FDA is allowing booster shots for some. Here’s what you need to know:
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Schools prepare for start of classes as number of cases rises in children
As the Delta variant continues to spread, a growing number of children in the United States are facing cases of Covid-19—some of them serious. The average number of children hospitalized for the disease over seven days jumped nearly 30% last week to 239, straining hospitals. This increase comes just as schools across the country are starting the new school year. In response to the increase in cases, the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the United States, recently approved require vaccinations for school workers.
More and more school districts are also adopting the CDC Tips that universal masking be compulsory in schools. The state of Virginia joined those ranks on Thursday when its governor announced that all students, teachers and school staff will be required to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Overall, most experts agree that minimizing distance learning while taking precautions is important.
More masks and vaccines mandates are in place
Over the past week, public health policy across the country has moved in opposite directions. In some places, increasingly stringent mask and vaccine mandates are being put in place. The Department of Health and Social Services, for example, has become the last federal agency require vaccinations for all employees. And San Francisco announced it would restrict entry in gyms, restaurants and other indoor places to people who can prove they have been vaccinated, such as in New York.
In contrast, some lawmakers have expressed strong opposition to any mandate on masking or vaccination, despite the increase in the number of cases. Eight States currently account for half of the country’s Covid-19 hospitalizations, many of which also have low vaccination rates and limited public health provisions. For example, Texas hospitals are filling with Covid-19 patients. Despite Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on mask orders, judges allowed two counties to put their own mandates in place to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
FDA approves recalls as CDC strengthens vaccine guidelines for pregnant women
Yesterday the FDA cleared a third callback Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines for immunocompromised people, including organ transplant recipients and others whose immune systems are also vulnerable. The FDA added that others who are fully vaccinated do not need an extra dose at this time. Meanwhile, the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee is meeting today to review the recalls, and if the CDC approves these injections on their recommendation, distribution could begin immediately. In doing so, the United States would follow in the footsteps of countries like Israel, which has already started offering third doses to people with compromised immune systems, and recently expanded eligibility for boosters to people over 50 years old.
Earlier this week, the CDC also updated its recommendations for pregnant women. Where previously the guidelines were vague, saying that pregnant people could get vaccinated, the agency has now reinforced its language to say that vaccination is advised for anyone over 12, including those with a child.
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Where can I get the Covid-19 vaccine and what can I expect?
Cases are increasing in the United States, and one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 is to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. While these injections will not completely prevent you from catching the virus, they will guarantee you much milder illness than you would otherwise. You can get the vaccine in your doctor’s office, hospital or emergency care center, and most large pharmacies. If you want to avoid a wait, you should be able to book an appointment online. The vaccine is free, but it’s a good idea to bring your health insurance card and your ID. You can expect mild and short-lived side effects, but you shouldn’t take preventative medications, even over-the-counter pain relievers, before your appointment. Despite the misinformation circulating online, these pictures will not alter your DNA or make you magnetic. One of the other ways you can do your part to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to talking to other people in your life who might need help getting the vaccine to make sure it’s safe and easy to do.
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