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  • 11/23/2021 12:55 PM | Anonymous

    Holiday traditions are important for families and children. And, all of us are anxious to get back to our family gatherings and holiday traditions. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated.

    Here are safer ways to celebrate the holidays:

    • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
    • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
    • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
    • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
    • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.I
    • f you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
    • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

    If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

    Read more at the CDC

  • 10/29/2021 10:19 AM | Anonymous

    On October 28, 2021, Red Cross announced that it will implement a vaccine requirement for all employees, effective January 1, 2022. This requirement also applies to all volunteers who work in-person in Red Cross facilities and operations. Employees and volunteers will need to be fully vaccinated or have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 31 to continue working in 2022. Red Cross will continue to have a medical and religious accommodation process for employees, but not offer testing as an alternative to vaccination, as this option would not be compliant with known federal, state and local regulations.

    Click to read the full announcement from Red Cross President Gail McGovern.


    10/28/2021

    Message from Gail: Red Cross Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

    The following message is from Gail McGovern, president and CEO:

    Throughout the pandemic, I have witnessed the dedication and strength of our American Red Cross workforce. We have continually been called on to do great things amid extraordinary circumstances, and we have answered that call without hesitation. I am grateful to each of you as we navigate this challenging time for our organization, our nation and the world.

    Over the past six months, the course of the pandemic has changed dramatically – from the proud COVID-19 vaccine selfies and unmasked early summer days to the unforeseen surge of COVID-19 cases bringing a return to masking and uncertainty just a couple months later.

    With the emergence of the delta variant, the pandemic landscape has evolved in its complexity. Federal, state and local vaccination mandates have been implemented as COVID-19 vaccination rates have stalled and hospitalizations increased. Many of these mandates already apply to our Red Cross employees and volunteers who are working to deliver our mission in these localities. More are on the horizon. In fact, at the Federal level, there is a mandate that any organization that has a covered federal contract must ensure that the workforce that carries out or supports those contracts is fully vaccinated. That mandate applies to the Red Cross.

    That’s why, today, I am announcing that the Red Cross will implement a vaccine requirement for all employees, effective January 1, 2022. Additionally, this requirement applies to all volunteers who work in-person in Red Cross facilities and operations. That means these employees and volunteers will need to be fully vaccinated or have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 31 to continue working in 2022. While we will continue to have a medical and religious accommodation process for employees, we will not offer testing as an alternative to vaccination, as this option would make us non-compliant with known federal, state and local regulations.

    If a volunteer is entirely virtual and will never need to enter a Red Cross facility or operation, this vaccination requirement will not apply unless there is a need to enter a facility or operation in-person, or local, state or federal laws dictate otherwise.

    As you know, our employees and volunteers serve alongside one another each day as one team. And as one team of Red Crossers, we will take this next critical step to battle the ongoing pandemic. I understand that there are some Red Crossers who remain hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, we must adapt to the changing pandemic environment and comply with the federal, state, and local laws. I am confident that together we will meet these challenges head on – like the many hurdles we have surmounted during this devastating pandemic – and we will continue to deliver our mission for those who turn to us during their darkest moment. Our country needs a vibrant, healthy Red Cross.

    Tomorrow, we will send detailed information to all employees and volunteers about our new vaccination requirement. In the meantime, for those who have not yet received a vaccine, I sincerely encourage you to schedule your vaccine as soon as possible so that you are fully vaccinated by December 31.

    Thank you for your support and service to our beloved mission.

    With deepest appreciation,

    Gail


  • 10/07/2021 11:25 AM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 Vaccine booster shots are available for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least 6 months ago and are at least 65 years of age or living in a residential community.  Also, adults aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside. Since that risk can vary across settings and based on how much COVID-19 is spreading in a community, people aged 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available. 

    At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or J&J/Janssen vaccine may need a booster shot. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots are expected soon. With those data in hand, CDC will keep the public informed with a timely plan for Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots.

    Read more at the CDC 

  • 09/21/2021 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    Starting in November, the U.S. will open the country to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from 33 countries with proof of full vaccination and a negative coronovirus test within three days of their arrival date.  Many Americans have been seperated from family who are not U.S. citizens during the pandamic.  Unvaccinated Americans who wish to enter the U.S. will now be able to do so but will face strict testing requirements.  Unvaccinated foreigners will still be barred from entering the U.S. 

    The CDC will issue quidelines to airlines, which will include the collection of travelers'  phone numbers and addresses to facilitate contract-tracing.

    Read more at USAToday

    Read updates from the CDC




  • 09/08/2021 1:59 PM | Anonymous

    Have you been asked for proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend a concert or a local sporting event, for travel, or to dine in a restaurant? If you have created a digital copy and keep it on your phone, you are all set.

    But what do you do if you lost your cardboard vaccination card, or put it in a safe place and now cannot remember where that is?

    Lucky for you, most vaccine providers and state health departments have a process in place to get a duplicate card, maybe not cardbaoard but certainly a digital version of you vaccination card.

    1.  Contact your vaccine provider to see how you can access your vaccine record.

    2.  Contact your state health department's Immunization Information System.  Your vaccine provider sends vaccine information to the appropriate state health department's Immunization Information System (IIS).

    3. Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  because they have IIS records for all 50 states listed online, where you can look up and obtain a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination records after verifying some personal information.

    When you get a duplicate vaccine record, store it on your phone, store it on your computer, and print two copies-one for your walet and another to be kept in a safe place.

    Read more at AARP.




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  • 08/24/2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    On August 23, the US Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full  approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older, the first coronavirus to move from emergency use to approal status.  The expected result is more vaccine mandates by businesses, schools, and organizations.  The vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in December 2020 for people age 16 and older, and in May 2021 extended to those 12 and older.

    The FDA stated that it is working as fast as possible to fully approve the other vaccines, with Covid infections, hospitalizations and deaths surging over the summmer.  Out of more than 170 million people in the United States fully vaccinated against Covid-19, more than 92 million have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, now being marketed as Comimaty.

    FDA says it&#39;s working as fast as possible to fully approve vaccines, as urgency rises amid Covid surge

    Read what the FDA said in its announcement 



    • 08/20/2021 3:02 PM | Anonymous

      You are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  You are beginning to eat out at restaurants, travel, fly to see the grandbabies, and go to the movies.  You are cautious and still wear a mask when you are indoors in a public space.  But new reports on the delta variant show that it presents risks even for those who are fully vaccinated.  While breakthrough infections are rare, the CDC has raised questions about even vaccinated people should return to pre-pandemic, unmasked social activities.

      A CDC  report covered breakthrough cases that occurred after crowded summer celebrations in Barnstable County, Mass. on Cape Cod, which included Provincetown. The CDC reported 469 COVID-19 cases, 74% of which occurred in fully vaccinated people. Among those breakthrough cases, 79% were symptomatic and four required hospitalization.  the data shows that fully vaccinated people can get infected and can spread the disease.

      Read more on Next Avenue, a program by PBS for seniors. 

    • 07/30/2021 9:18 AM | Anonymous

      Americans are starting to travel again. On July 15 more than 2.15 million went through airport security and the numbers just keep increasing.  I was at both Newark and Washington Dulles airports on Sunday, July 25 in the late afternnon, and both airports were packed with masked travelers - families, couples and grandparents on vacation.  Remember by law, EVERYONE, unless you are two or younger, must wear a face mask in the airport and on planes unless eating or drinking. 

      Improve the airport screening process by following TSA protocals.  (NOTE:TSA Precheck allows you to avoid some screening proceedures like taking off your shoes..  Also if you are over 75 you do not need to remove your shoes.):

      1. Arrive at the airport early. And sign up for TSA PreCheck®, which allows for speedier passage through screening.

      2. Remove your belt and personal items from your pockets and put them in your carry-on bag before lining up for screening. 

      3. TSA officials no longer physically handle boarding passes, so place your paper or electronic pass on the code reader and hold it for the officer to inspect. Briefly lower your mask to confirm your identity when asked by TSA agent.

      4. You can bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer through security, just remove it from carry-on bags before screening.

      6. Remove laptops and tablets from your carry-on bag and placed in a bin with nothing on or under them for X-ray screening.

      7. Practice physical distancing whenever possible during the screening process.

      8. TSA will accept a driver’s license or state-issued ID up to a year after expiration.. Note security-enhanced  Real ID will be required after May 3, 2023.

      9. Watch the new FAA  online video featuring children instructing adults on how to behave maturely.

      Questions-Contact the TSA’s customer service center at 866-289-9673, or get in touch through Twitter (@AskTSA) or Ask TSA on Facebook. If you require assistance because of medical or disability issues, contact TSA Cares at least 72 hours in advance of your flight at 855-787-2227.

      Read all the travel tips at AARP

    • 07/27/2021 11:34 AM | Anonymous

      As the delta variant spreads, the CDC is urging vaccinated Americans to resume wearing masks indoors.  That is a reversal of the CDC's May announcemnt that prompted vaccinated Americans to stop wearing face masks indoors.   Then COVID-10 cases were dropping and the delta variant had not gained a strong foothold in the US.  The delta variant is 1,99 times more transmissible than earlier versions of COVID-19.

      Currently, the US leads the world in the daily average number of new infections https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps.   The US accounts for one in every nine infections reported worldwide each day. The seven-day average for new cases is rising sharply and now at 57,126, still about a quarter of the pandemic peak.  Although vaccinated people are unlikely to become severly ill, they can get infected and spread the virus to others.

      Read more at The Washington Post

      Read more from Reuters at Yahoo News

    • 06/11/2021 8:57 AM | Anonymous

      Many seniors found themselves stuck overseas during the pandemic, with boarders closed, international travel became very difficult.  Some, who still owned homes, returned back to the States, and others hunkered down wherever they happened to be. 

      But like most of us, these senior nomads, are interested in resuming their travels. 

      Read more about these international senior nomads at Next Avenue.  Next Avenue is program to meet the needs and unleash the potential of older Americans produced by Twin Cities PBS.

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