U.S. companies can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Friday.
Federal EEO laws do not prevent employers from requiring that all employees physically entering a workplace be vaccinated as long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and ‘other laws, according to the statement.
Employers can also offer incentives for employees to get vaccinated, “as long as the incentives are not coercive,” the statement said.
“Because vaccinations require employees to answer disability-related screening questions prior to vaccination, there could be a very strong incentive for employees to feel compelled to disclose protected medical information,” the statement said.
“The updated technical support released today answers frequently asked questions about vaccinations in the workplace,” EEOC President Charlotte A. Burrows said in the statement. “The EEOC will continue to clarify and update our COVID-19 technical assistance to ensure that we provide clear, easy-to-understand and useful information to the public.”
Also in the news:
► Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corp.’s flagship line, may soon be able to set sail with passengers on board. The cruise line is the latest to receive the green light from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on part of its restart plans as it prepares to sail in US waters after making deals with three home ports.
► CVS is offering a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl, a vacation to Bermuda, or cash prizes to attract more customers for COVID-19 vaccinations. Kroger is also offering customers, workers or individuals who get vaccinated the chance to win $ 1 million or free groceries for one year.
► President Joe Biden began Memorial Day weekend by visiting a climbing gym in northern Virginia as the state lifted all COVID-19 distancing and capacity restrictions on private businesses.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 593,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Overall totals: More 169.5 million cases and 3.5 million deaths. More than 133.5 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 40% of the population.
📘 What we read: A year after experiencing one of the nation’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks, Navajo Nation leaders are maintaining mask restrictions and social distancing despite a high COVID-19 vaccination rate and CDC recommendations. Read the full story.
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Vaccines help fuel peak Memorial Day travel
Americans hit the road in near record numbers at the start of Memorial Day weekend, as their rush to break free from the coronavirus lockdown overcame higher prices for flights, gasoline and hotels.
More than 1.8 million people passed through U.S. airports on Thursday, and the daily count is expected to well exceed 2 million at least once during the long holiday weekend, which would be the highest mark since beginning March 2020.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned people to expect long lines at airports and called on travelers to be patient.
The increase in travel appears to be fueled by an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations as well as an improving economy. The US Department of Commerce said consumer spending rose in April, but not as much as in March, showing how consumers are driving a recovery from last year’s pandemic recession.
– Associated press
South Dakota conference could undermine vaccination efforts, experts fear
The advanced medicine conference opened Friday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in South Dakota – and health professionals across the state are not happy with it.
Here’s why: The four-day convention features social media health influencers who critics say are responsible for spreading pseudoscience and COVID-19 conspiracy theories that could further undermine virus control measures.
“We are on the verge of moving forward and returning to our normalcy with COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr Santiago Lopez of Immunize South Dakota, a coalition of medical professionals, advocates, scientists, parents and community members. “So these types of meetings and conferences where they make false claims about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine can cause people to not get the vaccine… and not get herd immunity.”
The conference, which is expected to attract around 1,200 attendees, features dozens of speakers who have been identified as the root sources of various myths and untruths about the coronavirus pandemic and the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
The CMA had previously held its annual event in Charlotte, North Carolina, but this year moved to South Dakota “which does NOT clash with our belief systems, philosophies and ability to think and will allow us to to have an event without political rhetoric, medical myths, unscientific extrapolations and biased conclusions, ”according to its website. Tickets range from $ 120 to $ 2,300.
Another drug may join the list of COVID treatments authorized by the FDA
Biopharmaceutical company Humanigen has submitted its drug Lenzilumab to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization for emergency use to treat hospital patients with COVID-19, the company said on Friday.
If approved, the drug will join a growing list of FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19. Lenzilumab focuses on preventing and treating an overactive immune response commonly known as a “cytokine storm”, which causes the immune system to destroy healthy and diseased tissue.
In a phase 3 study, the drug improved the likelihood of ventilation without ventilation by 54% in newly hospitalized patients. Survival improved by 92% in patients who also took certain steroids and remdesivir.
“There is a need for inpatients who require supplemental oxygen,” said Dr Cameron Durrant, Managing Director of Humanigen. “Treatments can save lives; despite the vaccinations, infections and major advances in the disease will continue. “
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Return to normal means the return of colds and sore throats
There is a downside to reverting to pre-COVID-19 hygiene habits. Normalcy has also brought back colds, sore throats and sniffles, doctors say.
“People take off their masks, they don’t socialize anymore, they don’t wash their hands as much and they get sick again,” said Dr Aaron Glatt, CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital in South Nassau , New York.
Getting back to normal “comes at a price,” said Glatt, who is also a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
After a year of almost no colds, no runny noses, and no watery eyes, minor viruses controlled by COVID-19 restrictions are making a comeback.
The flu, which was at its lowest this year, was the most important. The flu season ends in April or May, so it is unlikely to reoccur in the summer. But other annoying viruses, while less dangerous, are still around.
– Elisabeth Weise
Contributors: Joe Sneve, Argus Chief of Sioux Falls (SD); The Associated Press