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California to Require All Schoolchildren to Get COVID Shots

Associated Press reported:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the nation’s first coronavirus vaccination mandate for schoolchildren, a plan that will have all elementary through high school students get the shots once the vaccine gains final approval from the U.S. government for different age groups.

The government has fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 and over but only granted an emergency authorization for anyone 12 to 15. Once federal regulators fully approve the vaccine for that group, the state will require students in seventh through 12th grades to get vaccinated in both public and private schools, Newsom’s office said.

New York City Educators Ask the Supreme Court to Stop the City’s Vaccine Mandate for School Workers

The Washington Post via MSN reported:

A group of New York City educators seeking to overturn the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to halt the mandate before it goes into effect next week.

New York City’s 148,000 school employees have until Friday to show proof of vaccination or to obtain a religious or medical exemption. If they fail to do so, the city can remove them from the payrolls Monday.

The educators are hoping the high court will block the mandate and hear their challenge. Their petition was directed to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is responsible for emergency petitions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

New York Mandates Vaccines for Health Workers – How Will It Play Out?

The Guardian reported:

When New York’s vaccine mandate went into effect this week, administrators put one-fifth of the corporation’s long-term care facility staff on unpaid leave — workers who have risked their jobs rather than get vaccinated. The resulting staff shortage has caused a “cascading effect” through the entire system.

“That’s the biggest challenge, is on the nursing home side,” said Quatroche. “The lack of staffing has created closure of units and inability to discharge individuals out of the hospital, which backs up the hospital and blocks beds for individuals who need beds in the emergency room.”

The result of these factors in Erie county — difficulty hiring, vaccine hesitancy and a state requirement — presents just one example of the forces hospitals across the country will face as more state vaccine mandates from California to Maine go into effect.

Portpass App May Have Exposed Hundreds of Thousands of Users’ Personal Data

CBC News reported:

Private proof-of-vaccination app Portpass exposed personal information, including the driver’s licenses, of what could be as many as hundreds of thousands of users by leaving its website unsecured. The information was not encrypted and could be viewed in plain text.

Earlier in the day, the Calgary-based company’s CEO Zakir Hussein had denied the app had verification or security issues and accused those who raised concerns about it of breaking the law.

Why Are Highly Vaxxed Colleges Implementing Strict COVID Policies? — These Measures Have Clear Downsides and Little Proven Value

MedPage Today reported:

Vaccinated college students at many elite schools are the subject of an ongoing experiment — a screening study, in fact. Every week, or twice a week, depending on the school, they are asked to take a test for SARS-CoV-2. If positive, they have to quarantine, and if enough kids test positive, the entire school or campus has an escalation of restrictions.

Of course, as an expert on evidence-based medicine, the first argument I will make is there is no evidence that this policy — asymptomatic screening and strict mandates — slows the spread of the virus, or more importantly, keeps students, faculty, and staff from feeling sick. Showing that would require a cluster randomized trial. But apart from saying the evidence is lacking, the policy raises three other questions.

London Slips Into Technocracy, Becomes Blueprint For The World

Technocracy News reported:

For better or worse, London has long been considered one of the world’s great cities. It has produced many of the world’s great artists, writers, and thinkers.

Conversely, London is also known as a place where freedom and privacy are nearly extinct. It is one of the world’s most surveilled cities, ranking second globally in CCTV cameras per square (1,138) and third in CCTV cameras per person (73 per 1,000). The city’s police have recently purchased facial recognition technology in order to process historic images from these CCTV cameras as well as social media platforms and other sources. This is in addition to the Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology already deployed in the city.

Nurse Explains Why She Refuses to Get COVID Vaccine Despite Mandate

WKTV reported:

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with nurse Andrea Babinski, who has not been vaccinated for COVID-19 despite a mandate from her employer and the possibility she may lose her job for refusing to get the shot.

Being a nurse means everything to Andrea Babinski, but she is willing to risk it all — the connections to colleagues she likes, the patients she cares for, not to mention the steady paycheck — for a simple belief.

Babinski believes that the decision of whether she should get vaccinated against COVID-19 should be a personal medical choice. So far, she has chosen not to be vaccinated.

Penalty for the Unvaccinated?

Kiplinger reported:

While this year’s open-enrollment period won’t have a “yes or no” box to verify your vaccination status (like the “Are you a smoker?” question that’s typically asked), it could become a reality for the 2023 open-enrollment season. And some employers are already penalizing unvaccinated employees.

In late August, Delta, one of the largest global airlines, announced that it will require unvaccinated employees to pay a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees that the surcharge was designed to address “the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company.”

Insurers can’t deny you coverage because you had (or have) COVID-19, but surcharges are legal as long as you are offered an alternative to paying the surcharge. For smokers, the alternative is to complete a program that helps you kick the habit. In the case of COVID-19, the alternative would be to get vaccinated.

Are AI Ethics Teams Doomed to Be a Facade? Women Who Pioneered Them Weigh In

Venture Beat reported:

The concept of “ethical AI” hardly existed just a few years ago, but times have changed. After countless discoveries of AI systems causing real-world harm and a slew of professionals ringing the alarm, tech companies now know that all eyes — from customers to regulators — are on their AI. They also know this is something they need to have an answer for. That answer, in many cases, has been to establish in-house AI ethics teams.

“I do think that skepticism is very much warranted for any ‘ethics’ thing that comes out of corporations,” Gebru told VentureBeat, adding that it “serves as PR [to] make them look good.”

Should Troops Who Refuse the COVID Vaccine Be Dishonorably Discharged?

News Nation Now reported:

Should members of the military who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine risk being dishonorably discharged? Some people think it’s fair, while others are working to prevent it.

Republican Sens. James Lankford, Tommy Tubberville, Ted Cruz and Roger Marshall are fighting to prevent active service members who refuse the vaccine from being dishonorably discharged.

“If they’re giving a dishonorable discharge, then that soldier is going to lose their benefits (and) are going to have problems getting a job in the future; they’ll lose their benefits of getting a free education as well as healthcare,” Marshall said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

YouTube Misinformation Policy Update: Gov. Desantis’ Office Promises to Fight Censorship

WFLA News reported:

YouTube announced an expansion to their community guidelines on Wednesday, focused on what the company called harmful misinformation relating to vaccines and other health-related topics. In response to YouTube’s updated content policies, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office promised to oppose censorship and to continue fighting in defense of a recent law that is aimed at preventing deplatforming on social media sites.

The new YouTube guidelines include a three-strike content and account takedown policy with a 90-day timeline. For accounts that promote content directly in opposition to the new guidelines, an instant ban is also a possibility, according to YouTube’s new rules.

Florida’s SB 7072, the so-called Big Tech crackdown law, gives state officials and private citizens options to take social media companies to court over removal of their accounts from online communities, especially if the individual is currently running for public office. It was signed into law in May.