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This week, Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) president, and Polly Tommey, co-producer of “Vaxxed,” cover the latest COVID headlines, including a physician’s push for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to speed up full approval of COVID vaccines, and the FDA’s plan to expedite its timetable to approve Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.
Also on tap this week is the Pentagon’s decision to require all military troops to get vaccinated for COVID by Sept. 15 or sooner, and United Airlines’ move to mandate COVID shots for all its American employees by October.
Mary and Polly also cover Essentia Health’s decision to require its staff (including remote workers) to get vaccinated by Nov. 1, and how CNN fired three employees for showing up to work unvaccinated.
Here are more of this week’s highlights:
- An opinion piece by the Scientific American said vaccine mandates are “lawful, effective and based on rock-solid science.” The writer, Lawrence Gostin, doesn’t use the word “informed consent” or mention the “coercion” placed on people, said Mary. “He never mentions injury or death. He fails to acknowledge the lethal consequences for some people.”
- A physician spoke out against “vaccine mandates for all,” especially for children and those with natural immunity. Dr. Marty Makary said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) relentless focus on vaccine-induced immunity and its “demonizing” of those who choose not to get the vaccine make the agency “the most slow, reactionary, political CDC in American history.”
- An opinion piece in The New York Times asserted the only way out of the pandemic is to “get vaccines” and to “get masked.” The article states in order to prevent the virus from spreading and evolving in ways that make it more transmissible, or more deadly, or that render existing vaccines impotent, is to vaccinate people quickly with vaccine mandates.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said he fears vaccine-resistant COVID variant could emerge this fall and warned the U.S. is “in trouble” — a day after saying the nation is on the same “trajectory” as the UK where cases have declined. “It’s preemptive programming,” said Mary. “They’ve been telling us this for a long time.”
- Moderna said its vaccine produced a “robust” immune response against the Delta variant. “These are huge moneymakers,” said Mary. “They want to give these boosters to whom the first two doses were ineffective. That means the first two didn’t really work. Why would the third dose somehow be better? People who are getting the third dose are still getting sick.”
- Fourteen Israelis got COVID despite receiving a booster shot. Eleven of those infected are over 60 and two of them have been hospitalized. If confirmed in larger samples, the infections may cast doubt on the effectiveness of booster shots. “What we’re seeing is these vaccines are not effective,” said Mary.
- The Hill reported that mounting evidence suggests the Delta variant is dangerous for kids. “I find that a little coincidental as they’re pushing children’s vaccines,” said Polly. “Fear-mongering again.”
- Nottingham Trent Professor Robert Dingwall was asked to leave his role advising the UK government on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization COVID sub-committee. Dingwall has been outspoken on the topic of child vaccination in the past. He said, “Given the low risk of COVID for most teenagers, it is not immoral to think that they may be better protected by natural immunity generated through infection than by asking them to take the possible risk of a vaccine.”
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend all pregnant women get the COVID shot. “They have been in favor of Gardasil shots during pregnancy, with no screening, knowingly putting some women at higher risk for cervical cancer and miscarriages,” said Mary.
- New research shows 58% of infant deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System happened within three days of vaccination, and 78% occurred within seven days of vaccination. “Healthy babies don’t just die,” said Mary.
- Moderna is conducting a phase 1 study of its new mRNA respiratory syncytial virus vaccine, which the FDA has just put on the fast track. Moderna hopes the one-shot vaccine will prevent RSV, which causes a mild cold-like illness infection, in young children and older adults.
- State health officials in South Carolina say immunization rates for COVID and other childhood vaccines are low among children and teenagers.
- The Epsilon and Lambda variants of COVID may be resistant to vaccines, studies show. Researchers said the Lambda variant, which was initially discovered in Peru, is highly transmissible and more resistant to vaccines than the initial COVID strain.
- City Attorney Mike Feuer called on Los Angeles County to require proof of vaccination for certain indoor activities, including dining in restaurants, exercising in gyms and attending public performances and events. “I promise there’s going to be so many lawsuits both in California and New York related to this,” said Mary.
- Hundreds of colleges are requiring COVID vaccines, but many more are holding off on mandates, Penn Live reported. “The majority of colleges don’t mandate vaccines,” said Mary. “Many prominent, especially private ones have. Several litigations have been filed. Many more will be filed.”
- Employers are beginning to tack on a special surcharge of $20 to $50 a month to their unvaccinated workers, according to Mercer, the large employee benefits consultancy that works with thousands of employers around the world.
- Under a newly proposed law, Australians who post independent media content online could face $11,000 fines. Protest organizers will face even bigger fines of up to $20,000, and people who attend protests would be fined $5,500. “This is terrible,” said Mary. “Obviously, this violates the most fundamental of speech.”
- COVID shots for 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK are set to start within weeks. They will not need parental consent, reports the BBC.
- A top French court approved a law requiring COVID health passes for bars and restaurants. “I’ve received some Twitter messages about people setting up their own tables, bringing their own bottle of wine onto the street,” said Mary. “They’re saying, ‘Ok, you’re not going to let us into your restaurant, we’re going to set up our own restaurant. There’s great civil disobedience happening.”
- Canada is welcoming back fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents. “Unvaccinated people can still travel to Canada and back if they quarantine for 14 days,” said Mary.
- A group of parents filed a lawsuit against Gwinnett County Public Schools in Atlanta over the school system’s decision to require masks for the upcoming school year. “I do not co-parent with my school board, I do not co-parent with the CDC and I certainly do not co-parent with this administration,” said parent Holly Terei.
- More than 800 students attending the University of Connecticut this fall want exemptions from the institution’s COVID vaccine mandate.
- New data show a mass exodus from U.S. public schools, especially kindergarten. In 33 states, 10,000 local public schools lost at least 20% of their kindergartners. “I think it has a lot to do with masks, social distancing and fear-mongering,” said Mary.
- The San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association warned deputies will quit or retire if forced to get the COVID vaccine. “The unions are opposing this,” said Mary.
- A court ruled against Andalusia, the southernmost autonomous community in Peninsular Spain, and its COVID pass requirement for nightlife venues. The judges said requiring people to show proof of being free from the virus affected the right to privacy and the principle of non-discrimination. “This is fantastic news,” said Mary. “This is saying health passes violate privacy and discrimiantion laws. Not all courts will decide in our favor, but some will and we can use that as precedent.”
- An acting Boston mayor compared vaccine passports to documentation required during slavery. “Bravo to this mayor for talking about the real impact of these health passes,” said Mary. “They’re going to be used in a discriminatory manner and they are going to harm people of color the most.”
- After threatening a lawsuit, two Missouri dental students will not be required to get the COVID vaccine. “Well done to those two students!” said Mary. “Shout-out to their counsel, Liberty Counsel, an organization that has been bringing cases to protect people’s religious freedom for a very long time.”
- CHD Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. spoke about technology, vaccine safety and more to a packed audience at an Amish country fair in Lancaster, Pennsylvania last week. “Most of the Amish in Pennsylvania are not vaccinated,” said Mary. “The Amish people are very healthy.”
- A video posted to Twitter on Aug. 7 shows Italians burning vaccine passports.
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Watch “This Week” with Mary + Polly: