Healthcare providers in the United States are gearing up for a fresh round of inoculation against the COVID-19 pandemic, this time featuring smaller shots in smaller arms.
Meanwhile, politicians and athletes who defied the mask and vaccine mandates were given little leniency and received hefty fines and penalties.
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. The decision was in line with that of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which on Friday authorized emergency use of the pediatric dose for the roughly 28 million children in that age group.
The vaccine for young children is one-third the adult dose and would be given in two doses, three weeks apart. The lower dose was chosen to minimize side effects and still produce strong immunity, according to Pfizer. A total of 172 children aged 5-11 have died from COVID-19 in the United States and more than 8,300 have been hospitalized, said the CDC data.
On Wednesday, the CDC updated that 221,961,370 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, making up 66.9 percent of the whole US population; fully vaccinated people stood at 192,726,406, accounting for 58.1 percent of the total. A total of 19,783,921 people, or 10.3 percent of fully vaccinated group, received booster shots.
Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has been fined 48,000 US dollars for not wearing a mask on the House floor, CNN on Tuesday quoted a letter from the House Sergeant at Arms as saying. Greene has been fined 20 times for not wearing a mask and the fines came from Greene's salary.
After receiving an initial warning in May, Greene was fined 500 dollars for her first offense, and 2,500 dollars for each subsequent offense, which is in line with House rules. Greene has appealed at least one of her fines, but it was upheld. Greene was seen by reporters not wearing a mask on the floor on Tuesday.
Democrats implemented the rule last year amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instated the rule that members had to wear masks on the floor, many Republicans have evaded the rules and been fined as a result. Some GOP lawmakers kept protesting the mask rules long since the protocols were implemented.
Aaron Rodgers, American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL), on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19 and was out for Green Bay's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, a huge loss both for himself and the team.
Despite telling reporters in August he'd "been immunized", Rodgers was not vaccinated against COVID-19, and he will have to spend a mandatory 10 days away from the team in accordance with the league's COVID-19 protocol, reported NFL Network. The earliest date Rodgers can rejoin the team is Nov. 13, the day before their Week 10 matchup against the Seahawks.
With less than a month to go before the US Navy's vaccination deadline, the service said it has granted only five exemptions to its COVID-19 mandate, all for medical reasons, and so far, it has not kicked anyone out over the vaccine mandate.
Andrew DeGarmo, a spokesman for the Navy, confirmed on Tuesday in a call with Military.com, a website that provides news and information about benefits to military members, veterans, their families and those with military affinity, that the branch of more than 300,000 active-duty personnel has issued a handful of permanent medical exemptions.
Similarly, Marine spokesman Ryan Bruce told the website in an email on Tuesday that there has not been "a court-martial stemming from refusal to receive vaccination against COVID-19". He did note, though, that Marine Corps headquarters "does not track disciplinary actions below court-martial".
Although the exemption process has received significant attention as some service members publicly push for permission to sidestep the mandate, neither service thus far has supported religious exemptions to the vaccine, according to Military.com.
"Right now, (the effort is) really focused on trying to get the sailors vaccinated first and make sure everybody's taken care of," DeGarmo was quoted as saying.