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Religious Vaccine Exemption Stays for NY Healthcare Workers
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that New York must continue to allow healthcare workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.
Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.
Hurd’s preliminary injunction Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions.
Southwest CEO Says He Never Wanted a COVID Vaccine Mandate but Biden Forced His Hand
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Tuesday he believes businesses should not impose COVID vaccine mandates on their employees, but he said his company is doing so to comply with federal rules put in place by the Biden administration.
Kelly’s comments Tuesday come as Southwest faces heat for widespread flight cancellations in recent days and Monday’s sharp decline in the company’s stock price.
From Saturday through Monday Southwest scrapped about 2,200 flights, with more than half that number on Sunday alone.
Texas Gov. Abbott Issues Order Banning COVID Vaccination Mandates in Rebuke of Biden
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a statement.
Southwest, American Airlines Workers Will Have to Get Vaccinated, Despite Texas Order
Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, both based in Texas, said Tuesday that they will continue plans to require employees to get vaccinated, despite an edict issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that would ban vaccine mandates for private businesses in the state.
“Federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and we would be expected to comply with the President’s Order to remain compliant as a federal contractor,” Southwest said in a statement to POLITICO, referencing the Biden administration‘s requirement that government contractors be vaccinated by Dec. 8.
Facing Staffing Shortages, Baker Activates Massachusetts National Guard to Assist With COVID Testing in Public Schools
In response to staffing shortages that caused COVID-19 testing delays in many Massachusetts school districts, Governor Charlie Baker activated up to 200 members of the National Guard on Tuesday to assist with testing in public K-12 schools, according to an administration spokesperson.
Though more than 2,200 public and private schools have signed up to participate in at least one of the state’s three coronavirus testing programs, only about 1,350 had reported testing data as of Oct. 7.
Guard members will begin training for COVID-19 testing in schools this week and are set to begin assisting with testing in schools on Monday.
Parent Sues Wisconsin School District After Son Gets COVID, Allegedly From Classmate
A parent has sued a southeastern Wisconsin school district after her son contracted COVID-19 from a classmate.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Shannon Jensen filed the lawsuit in federal court against the Waukesha School District and school board on Oct. 5. Jensen is seeking an injunction ordering the district to comply with U.S. Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines.
The Truth About COVID Vaccine Exemptions
Medical and religious exemptions are front and center as President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate takes effect, affecting over 100 million public and private sector workers.
People hoping to avoid vaccination are taking drastic steps to avoid vaccination. Two-thirds of people refusing to get vaccinated are even willing to quit their job to avoid vaccination.
Society standards deem vaccine exemptions based on religion or medical conditions as acceptable. Yet, a closer look at them indicates that they lack substance and sinew.
A COVID Vaccine Mandate Won’t Force Staff at This Rural Missouri Hospital to Get the Shot, CEO Says. It Will Make Them Quit.
Dr. Randy Tobler, CEO of Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Missouri, has struggled to retain staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, losing 10 of his 57 nurses in the main hospital and three rural health clinics.
So Tobler can’t afford to alienate any more healthcare workers, but he believes a COVID-19 vaccine mandate could do just that. Such a requirement won’t make his unvaccinated staff get the shot, he says. It will make them quit.
Power Shifts From Big Tech as Digital Crackdowns Intensify
Internet freedom around the world has dropped for the 11th consecutive year, according to an annual report from Freedom House, a non-profit focused on expanding freedom and democracy.
Why it matters: The findings suggest that a broader shift in power from tech companies to nation states over the past year has resulted in “a record-breaking crackdown” on freedom of expression online.
Details: The report finds that government officials in 56 of the 70 countries measured have arrested or convicted people for their speech online. (The 70 countries measured account for 88% of the world’s internet users.)
Fauci Says He Doesn’t Expect a Vaccine Mandate for Domestic Air Travel ‘Immediately’
Amid a growing push for passengers on domestic flights to show proof of vaccination, top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci said he doesn’t see it happening in the near future.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post last month that he would support a vaccine mandate for domestic flights if President Joe Biden wanted to move forward with one.
Florida Fines Key County $3.5 Million for Mandating Vaccines
The county government that is home to Florida’s capital was fined $3.5 million on Tuesday by state health officials for requiring its employees to get COVID-19 vaccines and for firing 14 workers who failed to get the shots.
The Florida Department of Health issued the fine for Leon County, saying the municipality violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law, which prohibits businesses and governments from requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Big Tech Sweeps up Hill Staffers — Just When Congress Needs Them the Most
Silicon Valley and the telecom industry are snatching up some of the top Democratic policy experts on Capitol Hill — just as Congress gears up for fights with the companies.It comes as lawmakers are debating House antitrust bills aimed at defanging Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, as well as proposals for the first comprehensive federal law on data privacy, and strategies for competing with China in technologies like 5G and regulations for reviving net neutrality for internet providers.