Georgia Universities Drop Mask Mandates for Vaccinated Students

Woman sitting alone with a mask on.

The University System of Georgia announced that it plans to drop mask mandates for fully vaccinated students and employees in the Fall 2021 semester, marking a return to relative normalcy. 

“Fully vaccinated individuals can resume campus classes and other activities without wearing a mask. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a face covering while inside campus facilities,” a press release said. 

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More Americans Are Living Their Lives, Leaving Masks at Home, Survey Shows

Group of people sitting at public restaurant, eating.

A majority of Americans said for the first time in over a year that returning to their “normal” pre-pandemic lives did not pose a moderate or large health risk, an Axios/Ipsos survey shows.

The survey, released Tuesday, showed just 43% of Americans saying that returning to “normal” posed either a large or moderate risk to their health. It also shows that majorities of Americans have begun to enjoy several aspects of pre-pandemic life: 54% of Americans have eaten at a restaurant, 59% have visited family or friends and 31% have made summer plans – all in the past week alone.

The return to normalcy and the mental health benefits associated with it directly corresponds with the amount of Americans who say they have been vaccinated. Almost two-thirds of respondents say that they have received at least one shot, and 18% say that their emotional well-being has improved in the past week, which the survey notes is an all-time high during the pandemic.

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Wyoming Becomes Latest State to Ban Vaccine Passports

People walking in airport

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday issued a directive blocking state agencies from using vaccine passports.

The directive requires state agencies, boards and commissions to “provide full access to state spaces and state services, regardless of a constituent’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

The directive also urges local governments and private businesses to align their policies and practices with the state.

“Vaccine passport programs have the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized,” Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement. “They would divide our citizens at a time when unity in fighting the virus is essential, and harm those who are medically unable to receive the vaccine. While I strongly encourage Wyomingites over the age of 16 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is a personal choice based upon personal circumstances.”

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Vaccines Protect Against Multiple Variants, Additional Studies Suggest

Doctor with mask on holding COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are highly effective against and prevent illness from common variants of the virus, according to recently released studies.

The vaccine made by Pfizer is effective against the coronavirus variants that originated from the U.K. and South Africa, according to multiple studies released Wednesday that examined real-world vaccinations, The New York Times reported. Moderna reported that an early-stage trial suggested its vaccine is effective against the South African variant and a third variant originating from Brazil when given as a single-dose booster shot.

“At this point in time, we can confidently say that we can use this vaccine, even in the presence of circulating variants of concern,” London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine infectious disease researcher Annelies Wilder-Smith told the NYT.

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Factory Mixup Ruins 15 Million Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Workers at a Baltimore plant responsible for producing two separate coronavirus vaccines mistakenly mixed up their respective ingredients, ruining approximately 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and pausing all production at the plant, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The facility, run by Emergent BioSolutions, had partnered with both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to produce vaccines. Federal officials said that the mistake was a result of human error, according to The New York Times, which first reported the mix up that reportedly occurred several weeks ago.

A quality control review “identified one batch of drug substance that did not meet quality standards at Emergent BioSolutions, a site not yet authorized to manufacture drug substance for our COVID-19 vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. “This batch was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process.”

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Commentary: How the Administrative State Kills Us

Maryland’s vile handling of the COVID-19 vaccine affords searing lessons in the failure of bureaucratic government or the administrative state. More specifically Montgomery County (MoCo), Maryland’s bedroom community for the federal bureaucracy, exemplifies how America will suffer under one-party Democratic rule. 

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Georgia Southern University Preparing to Return to ‘Normal’ Operation

One publicly-funded university in Georgia says it plans to resume normal operations in the fall semester.

“For Fall 2021, we are currently planning for a full return to campus, which means resuming ‘normal’ operations with in-person instruction, research, events, service, and activities, and full dining and housing operations,” Georgia Southern University President Dr. Kyle Marrero said in a message to students, faculty, and staff according to WTOC. 

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Minnesota Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Dentists to Distribute COVID Vaccines

In a 67-0 vote Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that will allow dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

SF 475 is a bill “amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 150A.055,” which gives dentists the ability to distribute influenza vaccines. The amendment broadens the original bill, extending to cover COVID-19 vaccinations, too. 

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Medical Center Suspended Six Months from Administering Vaccines After Vaccinating Teachers Without State Permission

The Medical Center of Elberton has been barred temporarily from administering COVID-19 vaccines after mistakenly vaccinating teachers and other school staff without state permission. The medical center reportedly vaccinated around 40 percent of the Elbert County School District employees.

For that, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) suspended the medical center from receiving vaccine supplies for 6 months.

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Vaccines Arrive in Georgia, Healthcare Personnel First to be Vaccinated

A total of 5,850 doses of vaccines arrived in Georgia Monday, as part of a “two-dose series.”

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), “initial COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, DPH is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and prioritizing healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for vaccination. Vaccine will be given through closed points of dispensing or PODs. These sites include public health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, etc., and are only accessible to individuals in defined priority groups.”

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Trump Administration to Announce Medicare, Medicaid Will Cover Eventual COVID-19 Vaccine According to Report

The Trump administration is expected to announce that the eventual coronavirus vaccine will be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, Politico reported late Monday.

The administration is expected to change a rule that previously prevented Medicare and Medicaid from covering vaccines that received emergency use authorization from the FDA. The official announcement is expected from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Politico.

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CVS to Hire 15,000 Employees in Preparation for Flu Season, COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

CVS Health announced that it would bring on approximately 15,000 additional workers in preparation for the upcoming flu season and an expected rise in coronavirus cases before the distribution of an eventual vaccine.

The hirings will take place before the year’s end, the company said Monday in a statement. Though most of the positions are temporary, many could transition into full-time positions, CVS said.

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