COVID News: US to lift restrictions on vaccinated foreign travelers starting Monday


NEW YORK (WABC) — The U.S. is lifting restrictions on foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID, starting Monday.

The Biden administration is expecting long lines and delays at airports with travelers possibly pouring into the states.

When the announcement was made, online searches for international flights jumped 338%.

Delta Airlines saw bookings shoot up by 450%, and United Airlines says it will be bringing 30,000 travelers into the U.S. on Monday alone.

Here are more of today’s COVID-19 headlines:

Novavax says its vaccine could win over skeptics

The biotechnology company Novavax plans to submit complete data to the US Food and Drug Administration soon for possible emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, CEO Stanley Erck told CNN in a phone interview Friday. Novavax’s vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, is made using somewhat more conventional methods than the vaccines already authorized for use in the US.

US cancels vaccine maker’s multimillion dollar deal
The federal government has canceled a multimillion dollar deal with Emergent BioSolutions, a Maryland-based vaccine manufacturer with facilities in Baltimore that were found to have produced millions of contaminated Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this spring, the Washington Post reported. Emergent disclosed the development Thursday in a conference call discussing its latest financial results, the Post reported. Emergent said it will forgo about $180 million due to the contract’s termination, according to the Post. Emergent BioSolutions played a role in the Trump administration’s effort to speed up vaccine development and distribution. But after winning a contract from the previous administration, Emergent quickly ran into production problems. In March, ingredients intended for use in producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine shots contaminated 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The problems with the vaccines caused a monthslong delay in production. After that, the Biden administration put Johnson & Johnson in direct control of vaccine production there.

15 unions reach COVID vaccine mandate deal with NYC, talks continue with outliers
New York City employees who don’t want to get vaccinated have until Friday to file for a religious or medical exemption if they have any hope of staying on the payroll, this as the city announces more deals with unions representing municipal workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that 15 unions, including city’s largest, DC 37, have signed onto the deal. The unions represent more than 100,000 city workers covered by this most recent mandate that took effect last week, but the police and fire unions are not included and are still trying to hash out their own deals. Around 92% of city workers under the mandate are vaccinated, including 90% of EMS, 79% of firefighters, 85% of sanitation workers, and 85% of NYPD employees.

COVID vaccine refusal 10th highest reason for job cuts in 2021, report says
While experts say we’re still in the so-called “Great Resignation,” a recent Jobs Cut Report uncovered vaccine refusal as the 10th highest reason for job cuts this year. Numbers released by Chicago-based outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. came on on the same day President Biden announced new federal guidance and deadline for tens of millions of workers to get vaccinated.
“Roughly 5,000 people that lost their jobs in the last month due to COVID vaccine refusal made up actually 22% of the total number of people that we tracked being let go across the country,” the firm’s Senior VP Andy Challenger told our sister station KGO-TV.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill reduces risk of being hospitalized or dying by 89%, company says

A course of pills developed by Pfizer can slash the risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 by 89% if taken within three days of developing symptoms, according to results released Friday by the pharmaceutical company. In a study of more than 1,200 COVID-19 patients with a higher risk of developing serious illness, people who took Pfizer’s pills were far less likely to end up in the hospital compared to people who got placebo pills. None of the people who got the real pills died, but 10 people who got placebo pills died, according to results summarized in a Pfizer press release.
SantaCon returns
After taking a year off due to the pandemic, SantaCon is returning to New York City. The event requires a $13 donation for all-inclusive Santa Badge access to the official SantaCon venues. The location of a Yuletide kickoff party won’t be disclosed until closer to the December 11 SantaCon date.

Turkey Day troubles? Smaller birds, popular Thanksgiving sides could be harder to find in 2021
Consumers may have to trim their list of trimmings for their highly anticipated Thanksgiving meal this year. Top turkey seller Butterball said it doesn’t expect an overall gobbler shortage, but that those in search of a smaller size bird could have a hard time.
“Typically a 10- to 12-pound (turkey) up to 14 pounds is going to be more difficult,” Butterball CEO Jay Jandrain told “Good Morning America” on Friday. “Anything over 16 pounds, they’ll certainly be more readily available.”

Q&A: What to know about COVID-19 vaccines for kids aged 5-11
Vaccinations finally are available to U.S. children as young as 5, to the relief of some parents even as others have questions or fears. Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final OK for youngsters age 5 to 11 to get kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. Pediatricians and other doctors’ groups praised the move and are gearing up to help families decide whether to vaccinate their children. The shots could be available as soon as Wednesday and will be offered at pediatricians offices, clinics and pharmacies. Like COVID-19 vaccines for adults, they are free. Here’s everything you need to know.

Will the supply chain issues impact holiday shopping? Here’s what the experts say

With the holiday shopping suddenly upon us, it appears that getting that perfect gift or preparing that perfect meal will be far more challenging than in years past due to supply chain issues. Shoppers are noticing that it’s difficult to find a variety of items, and virtually everything from food to Christmas trees are more expensive. The price increase is being caused by gridlock at major seaports and a truck driver shortage across the country. Analysts say the forecast for the holiday season is not looking better.

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