Pentagon will require COVID-19 vaccine for service members; NYC mandates vaccinations for teachers

A roundup of the latest COVID-19 developments:

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Pentagon to mandate COVID-19 vaccine, as Pfizer is approved

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says it will require service members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making good on his vow earlier this month to require the shots once the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine.

Kirby said guidance is being developed and a timeline will be provided in the coming days.

In a memo Aug. 9, Austin said he’d seek the president’s approval to make the vaccine mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon FDA licensure “whichever comes first.”

Kirby said the move is an effort to ensure the safety of service members. Concerns about the virus are especially acute in the military, where service members live and work closely together in barracks and on ships, increasing the risks of rapid spreading. Any large virus outbreak in the military could affect America’s ability to defend itself in any security crisis.

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NYC mandates vaccinations for public school teachers, staff

NEW YORK (AP) — All New York City public school teachers and other staffers will have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, officials said Monday, ramping up pandemic protections as the nation’s largest school system prepares for classes to start next month.

The city previously said teachers, like other city employees, would have to get the shots or get tested weekly for the virus. The new policy marks the first no-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers in the nation’s most populous city, though Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that coaches and students in football, basketball and other “high-risk” sports would have to get inoculated before play begins.

Now, about 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools — will have to get at least a first dose by Sept. 27, according to an announcement from the Democratic mayor and the city health and education departments.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that everyone is safe and that we push back delta,” de Blasio said. Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter called the policy “another layer of protection for our kids,” including her own 11th-grader.

The city hasn’t immediately said what the penalty will be for refusing, or whether there will be exemptions. The previous vaccinate-or-test requirement had provisions for unpaid suspensions for workers who didn’t comply. Read the full story here:

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