“Sesame Street” puppet Big Bird announced his coronavirus vaccination on Twitter – and drew fire from conservatives such as Ted Cruz, who dismissed the vaccine pitch as “government propaganda.”
The iconic yellow bird appeared Saturday on CNN’s town hall “The ABCs of Covid Vaccines” with journalist Erica Hill. His grandmother, Granny Bird, revealed Big Bird would be receiving the vaccine. Big Bird is generally identified as being about 6 years old. Federal health officials recently granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5-11.
That night, Big Bird tweeted: “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy. Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”
Conservative social media personality Michael Cernovich tweeted a reply: “What’s the treatment for myocarditis in birds?” Myocarditis, heart inflammation, is a very rare side effect of the vaccine.
Fox News host Lisa Boothe tweeted:”Brainwashing children who are not at risk from COVID. Twisted.”
Cruz also responded on Twitter: “Government propaganda … for your 5 year old!” That drew a response from Walter Schaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who pointed out to the Republican: “You are vaccinated.”
Plenty of commenters supported Big Bird’s decision.
“Thank you for getting vaccinated,” tweeted Dr. Tom Nelson, an emergency room physician in Indiana.
As U.S. health authorities expand use of the leading Covid-19 vaccines, researchers investigating heart-related risks linked to the shots are exploring several emerging theories, including one centered on the spike protein made in response to vaccination.
Researchers aren’t certain why the messenger RNA vaccines, one from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE and the other from Moderna Inc., are likely causing the inflammatory heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis in a small number of cases.
►More than 30,000 runners took part in the 2021 New York City Marathon, a race that was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The race’s 26.2-mile course loops through all five boroughs, ending in Manhattan’s Central Park.
►The Oklahoma City school district violated state law by firing six teachers who refused to wear masks, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says. Five of the teachers are suing the district over the mandate and say wrongful termination will be added to the suit. Stitt said he will not re-issue an emergency order allowing schools to implement mask mandates.
►Some members of Arizona’s Mohave County Board of Supervisors oppose county news releases promoting COVID-19 vaccinations for children. Supervisor Hildy Angius referred to the vaccinations for children as “insanity.”
►School officials in Rutherford County, Tennessee, are tapping COVID relief dollars to offer bonuses up to $1,000 to help retain school employees. District workers employed prior to Oct. 1 who remain employed with the county until Dec. 17 will qualify for a $500 payment. Finishing the school year will bring another $500.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 45.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 745,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 246.5 million cases and 4.9 million deaths. More than 192.2 million Americans – 57.9% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we’re reading: Babies born to moms with COVID-19 when pregnant should be watched for long-term impacts, researchers say. Read more here.
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New US air travel rules take effect Monday
Airlines and U.S. Customs and Border Protection expect a spike in travel starting Monday, when the U.S. reopens to foreign visitors from dozens of countries, and U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico reopen to nonessential travel. The new rules are launching nearly two years after the U.S. began imposing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Add in a slew of new entry requirements for international visitors that must be verified by airlines – proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a negative coronavirus test and attestation forms – and bottlenecks are inevitable.
“It’s going to be a bit sloppy at first, I can assure you,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said last week at a U.S. Travel Association conference. “There will be lines, unfortunately.” More details here.
– Bailey Schulz
L.A. requiring proof of vaccination for most indoor businesses
Proof of vaccination will be required to enter a slew of businesses in the city of Los Angeles starting Monday under one of the nation’s strongest vaccine mandates. Indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, malls, salons and most city buildings will require – in addition to photo ID – a CDC vaccination card, a scan or photograph of the card on a mobile device, or a digital vaccination record issued by the state, city or a health care provider. The ordinance encourages businesses to offer service outside for patrons who do not provide proof of vaccination.
Patrons who claim a medical or religious reason for not getting vaccinated can provide a negative coronavirus test taken within 72. Venues that fail to adhere to the ordinance can face fines starting Nov. 29.
Vaccine mandate for larger businesses temporarily halted by court
A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay of the requirement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face mask requirements and weekly tests. Louisiana Attorney General Landry said the action stops Biden “from moving forward with his unlawful overreach.”
“The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the Constitution,” Landry said in a statement.
The administration says it is confident that the requirement, which includes penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation, will withstand legal challenges in part because OSHA safety rules preempt state laws.
More colleges are mandating the vaccine:These red-state colleges won’t mandate COVID shots for students – but they will for employees
Health group ends partnership with Aaron Rodgers
Prevea Health announced Saturday that it would no longer continue its partnership with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The announcement comes after Rodgers publicly made a series of misleading and false claims about COVID-19 during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and due to his unvaccinated status will not be able to get back on the field for a minimum of 10 days. According to a statement from the company, Rodgers has been a partner of Prevea Health since 2012 and has acted as a spokesperson and supported the organization’s initiatives throughout Wisconsin.
“Prevea Health remains deeply committed to protecting its patients, staff, providers and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes encouraging and helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent the virus from further significantly impacting lives and livelihoods,” the statement said.
Aaron Rodgers was hit hard Sunday.
And he wasn’t even playing.
The four Pro Football Hall of Famers on the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show lambasted the Green Bay Packers quarterback during the live show from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Rodgers is sidelined with COVID-19 and went on Pat McAfee’s radio show Friday to explain his decision to forego vaccination and rail against the NFL’s protocols.
More:Dougherty: Aaron Rodgers makes his COVID-19 case, but still must accept consequences of his decision
More:’Saturday Night Live,’ late-night hosts take a few jabs at Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers over his unvaccinated status
More:Prevea Health ends partnership with Aaron Rodgers following comments about COVID-19 vaccination
Rodgers had previously said he was “immunized” after he was asked about if he had a COVID-19 vaccination. That and remarks on the McAfee show did not sit well with the Fox crew of Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson.
Bradshaw gave No. 12 the hardest hit.
“I’ll give Aaron Rodgers some advice,” Bradshaw said. “It would have been nice if he had just come to the Naval Academy and learned how to be honest. Learned not to lie. Because that’s what you did, Aaron. You lied to everyone. I understand ‘immunized.’ What you were doing was taking stuff that would keep you from getting COVID-19. You got COVID-19. Ivermectin is a cattle dewormer. Sorry, folks, that’s what it is. We are a divided nation politically. We are a divided nation on the COVID-19, whether or not to take the vaccine. And unfortunately, we’ve got players that pretty much think only about themselves. And I’m extremely disappointed in the actions of Aaron Rodgers.”
The Midshipmen in attendance cheered Bradshaw after that.
Strahan did not like the usage of “immunized.”
“In the grand scheme of things, it’s deceptive and it’s wrong,” Strahan said. “And the presentation that he did did not help.”
Strahan added, “There are times to quote MLK (Martin Luther King) and this was not one of them.”
Johnson said he was “disappointed” by the play on words, and by Rodgers’ “selfish actions.”
Long took issue with the public health risks that Rodgers created.