First lady Jill Biden on Monday will kick off the administration’s push to encourage parents to vaccinate their children for COVID-19 by visiting an elementary school that played a historic role during the polio epidemic.
The Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, was the first school to administer the polio vaccine in 1954. Biden and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will be introduced by sixth-grader Everett Munson, who has studied the history of the polio vaccine and will have just been vaccinated.
Biden plans to visit pediatric vaccination clinics across the county over the coming weeks, now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5 through 11.
The administration is asking schools to set up vaccination clinics on-site, or in dedicated sites in their communities. School leaders are also encouraged to provide outreach about the vaccinations to families and to partner with local pediatricians to host community conversations to answer parents’ questions.
In a letter to school superintendents and elementary school principals, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra note that parents are approximately twice as likely to get their child vaccinated if their school provides information about the vaccine, according to Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
“We urge you,” they wrote, “to do all you can to help parents and families learn about the vaccine and get access to it.”
Also in the news:
►The world has now reported more than 250 million confirmed coronavirus cases, Johns Hopkins University data shows.The true number of cases is likely far higher because not everyone is tested.
►Athens PRIDE kicks off today in Georgia, an annual week of events that was canceled last year because of the pandemic. Events planned for the week include a pageant, trivia night, karaoke, variety show, drag show, queer prom and movie screenings.
►Japan reported no daily deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday for the first time in 15 months, as infections decline rapidly in the country.
►Slovakia on Monday expanded strict coronavirus restrictions including hotel, bar and restaurant closures to almost a half of the country amid a record surge of infections in the nation of 5.5 million people – less than half of whom are vaccinated.
►Vermont’s COVID-19 cases have surged since the summer. The state is now averaging 283 cases a day, compared to less than ten a day in July.
►In Los Angeles starting Monday, proof of vaccination will be required to enter indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, malls, salons and most city buildings. In addition to photo ID, people must show a CDC vaccination card, a scan or photograph of the card on a mobile device, or a digital vaccination record issued by the state, city or a health care provider.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 46 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 754,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 249 million cases and 5 million deaths. More than 193 million Americans — 58.4% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we’re reading: Will children of color get vaccinated at the rates of other children? Experts say equity is key to new normal.
The gap in COVID-19 deaths rates between red and blue counties grew faster in October than any previous month, a New York Times data survey reveals.
The Times reports that in October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump-voting counties died from COVID-19, more than three times higher than the rate of 7.8 in counties that turned out strongly for Biden. October was also the fifth consecutive month the percentage gap between the death rates rose, the Time reports.
“The true explanation is straightforward: The vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe COVID, and almost 40% of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10% of Democratic adults,” the Times says.
Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is available for children as young as 5 years old, community leaders, clinicians and officials are ramping up grassroots efforts to ensure children of color have equal access to the shot.
The rollout charges forward at drug stores, pediatrician offices, family health clinics and hospitals. But access may be challenging for some, as an estimated 53% of children throughout the nation lack a medical home, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis in 2019. Doctors said the vaccination barriers once faced by adults in communities of color are likely to be mirrored in children of color.
“We obviously had disparities with their parents, so why shouldn’t we have disparities with their kids?” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. Read more here.
– Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY
A rush of international travelers was headed toward the United States border on Monday as the COVID-19 travel ban ended and people from dozens of countries were allowed in, more than 600 days since they were barred from entry.
Long lines began forming at the Canadian and Mexican borders well before daybreak, and eager travelers boarded flights from Europe, including dueling departures from London’s Heathrow. The U.S.-Mexican border is typically the world’s busiest border crossing, with about 350 million people crossing annually.
The new U.S. entry requirements require foreign air passengers to test negative for the virus before boarding a plane to the country and, if they are 18 or older, show proof of full vaccination. Travelers entering the U.S. on land or by ferry for nonessential reasons must need to show proof of vaccination. Read more here.
— Bailey Schulz, Dawn Gilbertson, Eve Chen and Morgan Hines, USA TODAY
President Joe Biden is pushing forward with a massive plan to require millions of private sector employees to get vaccinated by early next year. But first, he has to make sure workers in his own federal government get the shot.
About 4 million federal workers are to be vaccinated by Nov. 22 under the president’s executive order. Some employees, like those at the White House, are nearly all vaccinated. But the rates are lower at other federal agencies, particularly those related to law enforcement and intelligence, according to the agencies and union leaders. And some resistant workers are digging in, filing lawsuits and protesting what they say is unfair overreach by the White House.
The upcoming deadline is the first test of Biden’s push to compel people to get vaccinated. Beyond the federal worker rule, another mandate will take effect in January aimed at around 84 million private sector workers, according to guidelines put out this past week. On Saturday, a federal appeals court in Louisiana temporarily halted the vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers. The administration says it is confident that the requirement will withstand legal challenges in part because its safety rules preempt state laws.
Contributing: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; The Associated Press