Omicron COVID Updates: New York Launches More Child Vaccination Sites

NEW YORK (WABC) — Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced 29 new #VaxForKids pop-up vaccination sites to boost vaccination rates among children and teens.

The new sites support the state’s goal of ensuring New York City children 5 and older are immunized and follow all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including the booster.

“New York State ranks first among major states for fully immunized teens, thanks in part to our #VaxForKids program bringing the vaccine directly to communities, with more than 222 sites established to date,” said Hochul. “The vaccine is doctor-approved and our best tool to protect our families and communities from COVID-19. Parents and guardians, please speak to your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider about getting your child vaccinated if you haven’t already.”

The state launched the #VaxForKids campaign to increase vaccination rates among New York City’s children ages 5-11 and provide booster doses to eligible teens ages 12-17. The state Department of Health is working with localities, community organizations and health centers to establish these sites in all areas of the state. Partners, host sites and outreach efforts will be tailored to best meet the needs of the communities they serve.

A community health professional will be available at each site to answer any questions parents and guardians may have. CLICK HERE for a list of sites.

RELATED: What are the symptoms of COVID omicron variant?

Here are some other COVID-19 headlines from today:

Newark mask mandate announcement expected on Thursday
Newark currently requires the wearing of a mask “at all times indoors in any public facility” until March 4. Another order that requires proof of vaccination to enter certain indoor places – such as restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes, libraries, hotels and convention centers and co-working spaces – expires on Wednesday.

Mayor Baraka will meet with senior officials on Wednesday evening and is expected to make an announcement on Thursday. Any changes would be based on cases, which are down. Newark’s three-day positivity is 2.5% and seven-day positivity is 2.44%, half the state’s positivity rate.

Mandates have been in place, by decree, since December. New Jersey does not have a statewide mask or vaccine mandate for most public buildings, though masks are strongly recommended indoors. Some municipalities, such as Newark, have adopted their own local requirements.

Hochul says school mask decision depends on many factors
New York has seen some of its lowest COVID case numbers since late last year, including a 97% drop since Jan. 7. But when it comes to the state’s school mask mandate, Gov. Kathy Hochul says she’s looking at a combination of factors. It includes the number of cases, but also vaccination rates for children aged 5 and over, as well as whether any emerging variants are causing cases to rise again. But she doesn’t have a specific number.

“The numbers continue to drop, is the rest of the world stabilized, do we have sufficient hospital capacity and what is the infection rate in the region?” she said. “I think that will give us the best indicator at that time to lift it. I know everyone wants an answer. They want it to be nice and clean. They want to say we’re going to get there, but it’s is a combination of factors, and I can’t ignore that.”

She plans to make a decision on masking in schools by March 7.

New York’s graduation rate rises after pandemic cancels exams
New York’s high school graduation rate rose slightly last year after the pandemic forced the cancellation of exams normally required for a degree, education officials said Wednesday. State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said it’s unclear what impact the cancellation of the Regents’ rigorous exams has had on the class of 2021. Students generally must pass at least four of the exit exams – in English, math, science and social studies – to graduate. But amid the COVID-19 disruptions, the state said, it was enough for students to pass classes.

“This change has affected this year’s graduation rates, but we can’t say to what extent,” Rosa said in a call with reporters, adding that the 1.3 percentage point increase was in line. to an upward trend in graduation rates followed in recent years.

Germany announces end of most COVID restrictions on March 20
German leaders have announced plans to end most of the country’s coronavirus restrictions by March 20. The move coincided with moves by neighboring Austria and Switzerland to drop many of their virus curbs sooner. A three-step plan was approved by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the country’s 16 state governors on Wednesday, as official figures show Germany’s COVID-19 infection rate is starting to drop. Scholz said “the peak has now probably been reached.” Germany saw infections caused by the omicron variant increase later than in several other European countries. Officials attributed this to restrictions in place since December.

Getting vaccinated during pregnancy can protect babies from COVID-19, study finds
COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy can protect babies after they are born and reduce the number of hospitalized infants, according to a US government study released on Tuesday. The study is the first to show potential benefits for infants born to people who received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines during pregnancy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said in a briefing.

UK to offer COVID vaccine to all children aged 5-11
UK officials say a coronavirus vaccine will be offered to nearly six million children aged 5 to 11 in the UK In England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also announced similar measures. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday it was up to parents if they wanted to take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of COVID-19. The UK currently offers vaccines for children aged 11 and under who have medical conditions that put them at serious risk of complications. Around 85% of people aged 12 and over in the UK have been fully vaccinated.

Businesses return to more normal operations as COVID-19 pandemic appears to fade
For the first time in two years for many people, the American workplace is transforming into something resembling the pre-pandemic days. Tyson Foods announced Tuesday that it is ending mask requirements for its vaccinated workers at certain facilities. Walmart and Amazon — the nation’s 1st and 2nd largest private employers, respectively — will no longer require fully vaccinated workers to wear masks in stores or warehouses unless required by local or state laws. Tech companies like Microsoft and Facebook, which allowed employees to work entirely remotely, are now setting mandatory dates to return to the office after a series of crises and departures.

“There has been a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases across the country over the past several weeks,” Amazon told workers in a memo. “With vaccination rates increasing across the country, it’s a positive sign that we can get back to normal operations.”

Court won’t stop Murphy’s jail term
New Jersey state and county corrections workers are due to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Wednesday after the state Supreme Court declined to intervene in Gov. Phil Murphy’s vaccination mandate. The state’s highest court rejected 5-2 an emergency request by several police unions to suspend Murphy’s mandatory vaccination order, demanding that county jail and state prison staff get vaccinated for the first time on Wednesday and be fully vaccinated by the end of March. Failure to comply may result in termination. Judge Stuart Rabner wrote that the unions, led by the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, had failed to show that blocking the vaccine mandate was in the public interest and necessary to avoid irreparable harm. An appeals court last week dismissed the union’s lawsuit challenging the mandate.

How many times can I reuse my N95 mask?
How many times can I reuse my N95 mask? It depends, but you should be able to use both N95s and KN95s multiple times. The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says healthcare workers can wear an N95 mask up to five times. But experts say how often the average person can safely wear one varies depending on how it’s used. Using the same mask to run to the grocery store, for example, is very different from wearing it all day at work.

When am I contagious if I am infected with omicron?
When am I contagious if I am infected with omicron? It’s not yet clear, but some early data suggests people could become contagious sooner than with previous variants – possibly a day after infection. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with the coronavirus are most contagious in the few days before and after symptoms develop. But that window of time could happen sooner with omicron, according to some outside experts. Indeed, omicron appears to cause symptoms more quickly than previous variants – around three days after infection, on average, according to preliminary studies. Based on previous data, this means that people with omicron could start becoming contagious the day after infection.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE

Omicron Variant Symptoms: What to Know Even If You’re Vaccinated
New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
New Jersey COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Coronavirus

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