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U.S. sustains COVID-19 vaccination campaign amid disputes on vaccine, mask mandates


A coalition of 10 U.S. states, led by Missouri, has filed a lawsuit against the Joe Biden administrations COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed on health care workers, which they said was "unconstitutional and unlawful."

The political battle over COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates continued in the United States, as the federal government pushed through its vaccination campaign with young children being targeted in the latest efforts.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated that 224,660,453 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, making up 67.7 percent of the whole U.S. population; fully vaccinated people stood at 194,382,921, accounting for 58.5 percent of the total. A total of 26,087,147 people, or 13.4 percent of fully vaccinated group, received booster shots.

Photo taken on Feb. 23, 2021 shows the school billboard of George H. W. Bush Elementary School in Dallas, Texas, the United States. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua)

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MIXED SCENARIO

A coalition of 10 U.S. states, led by Missouri, has filed a lawsuit against the Joe Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed on health care workers, which they said was "unconstitutional and unlawful," reported The Hill on Wednesday.

Missouri was joined in the suit by eight other states with GOP governors: Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire. Kansas, the 10th state, has a Democratic governor, but is a reliably Republican state in presidential elections.

"Unfortunately, with this latest mandate from the Biden Administration, last year's healthcare heroes are turning into this year's unemployed," Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in an official statement, adding that requiring health care workers to get a vaccination or face termination is "unconstitutional and unlawful, and could exacerbate healthcare staffing shortages to the point of collapse, especially in Missouri's rural areas."

Also on Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that a ban imposed by Texas' Republican Governor Greg Abbott on school mask mandates violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, "a decision that could have national implications as several other states are embroiled in legal battles over face-covering requirements for children," reported The Washington Post.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel is the latest development in the closely watched feud, and it allows local leaders to once again decide whether they want to implement mask mandates in their school districts.

School mask mandates have been a contentious issue for months, with the disputes moving from school board meetings to courtrooms. A handful of GOP-led states, including Arizona and Florida, passed similar bans on mandates. The CDC recommended that schools require their students, teachers and staff to wear masks.

MIXED DEVELOPMENTS

On Wednesday, the White House estimated that nearly a million young children have gotten COVID-19 shots since the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was cleared for 5- to 11-year-olds last week, a figure that White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients described as a "good start."

Because of a lag in reporting to the CDC, which gathers vaccination data, the White House did its own analysis by collecting information from pharmacies and state and local health officials, said Zients, adding that officials "estimate conservatively" that 900,000 children have had their first shots.

Nearly 20,000 pharmacies, clinics and physicians' offices in the United States are offering the doses to younger kids. Besides for the almost 1 million jabs, an additional 700,000 pediatric vaccination appointments have been scheduled for the coming days at pharmacies across the nation, according to Zients.

Students attend an in-person class in a school in Los Angeles, California, the United States, on April 13, 2021. (Xinhua)

A widely reported COVID-19 fatality case in recent days was that Jack Nyce, an officer with the San Francisco Police Department, died of coronavirus after he allegedly missed a deadline to be vaccinated against the disease.

Nyce, 46, a 17-year veteran with the department, died on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper reported that Nyce missed the city's deadline to receive a vaccine and was placed on a 30-day administrative leave. 

Published : November 12, 2021

By : Xinhua