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Pandemic

Employers Can Require Covid-19 Vaccine Under Federal Law, New Guidance States

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U.S. employers could require all workers who physically enter a workplace to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the federal government said on Friday.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued updated guidance stating that federal law does not prevent an employer from requiring workers to be vaccinated.

However, in certain circumstances, the law may require the employer to make reasonable accommodation for workers who are not vaccinated because of a disability or religious belief. For example, the EEOC said that an unvaccinated employee entering the workplace could wear a face mask, work at a social distance, or be given the opportunity to telework.

The new guidelines also state that federal laws do not prevent or limit incentives that workers can be offered to voluntarily take the vaccine. And employers who give vaccines to their employees may also offer incentives, unless the incentives are compulsory.

The updated guidelines are designed to answer frequently asked questions, EEOC chair Charlotte Burrows said in a statement. She said the agency will continue to update and refine its support to employers.

The Commission is an independent, bipartisan agency that enforces civil rights laws in the workplace. The five-person body is led by Ms. Burrows, a Democrat who brought President Biden to the top. It also includes three Republican members nominated by former President Donald Trump.

Some employers have offered bonuses to workers who take the shot. For example retailer Dollar General Corp.

is offering four hour wages to those who take the shot, and Bolthouse Farms, a juice and salad dressing maker, said it would pay $ 500 to full-time workers receiving Covid-19 vaccine. Retailer Trader Joe’s, Delivery Service Instacart Inc., and Meat Producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

and JBS USA Holdings Inc. said they would provide vaccine incentives.

Trader Joe’s is one of those employers who would offer their employees incentives to get vaccinated against Covid-19.


Photo:

STAR MAX / Associated Press

JBS USA, the largest US beef processor, and Pilgrim’s Pride, a leading poultry supplier, will not require factory workers to get the vaccine, a company spokesman said. A spokesman for Bolthouse Farms said the company had no plans to require vaccinations. Dollar General, Trader Joe’s, and Instacart Inc. didn’t respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Keira Lombardo, chief administrative officer of Smithfield Foods Inc., said the pork giant provides vaccines for factory workers but does not currently need them.

The EEOC said employers could provide workers and their family members with information about the benefits of vaccines and how to get them. It was pointed out that the vaccines are available free of charge.

The guide comes at a time when more workers are returning to the site and various federal agencies have stated that wearing masks is not required for people who have been vaccinated.

Edwin Egee, vice president of government relations and human resource development for the National Retail Federation, said he did not know of any NRF members who had prescribed vaccines and he did not expect this to happen based on EEOC guidance. Instead, he expects the guidelines to help employers encourage workers to vaccinate.

“Many of them have already done this without guidance, but today’s guidance clearly gives them legal clarity to proceed,” he said.

The EEOC announced on its website that it has received numerous inquiries about vaccine requirements, including concerns about the three vaccines used in the US – from Johnson & Johnson,

Moderna and Pfizer – BioNTech – were issued emergency permits as opposed to broader permits. The agency said decisions about whether the level of approval creates a legal problem are “outside the competence of the EEOC”.

The agency added that “some individuals or populations may have greater barriers to getting a Covid-19 vaccination than others, that some employees may be more likely to be negatively affected by mandatory vaccination.”

The EEOC found that it would be illegal to apply a vaccination requirement in such a way that employees are treated differently depending on their disability, race, skin color, religion, gender, national origin or age. It was also found that state and local laws can also regulate vaccination requirements.

Marc Freedman, vice president of employment policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, said the guidelines should also help allay individuals’ fears of returning to work.

“To the extent that employees are concerned that returning to work will put them at risk for Covid-19, anything that helps an employer vaccinate more employees will help keep the workplace safe” said Freedman.

Mr. Freedman was pleased that the EEOC had made it clear that employers can offer vaccination incentives without dealing with legal issues. However, the EEOC guidelines also state that incentives are acceptable as long as they are not “compulsive” – a term whose meaning is not clear, according to Freedman.

This could “expose employers to the challenges of workers who do not wish to be vaccinated”.

Many employers report difficulties in hiring workers for vacancies. Whether the vaccination policy affects labor shortages depends on how many employers need vaccinations and how much unvaccinated workers care, said Adam Ozimek, labor economist at Upwork Inc.,

A platform that connects companies and employees for freelance projects.

A shortage of available labor could make employers in certain sectors reluctant to make vaccine requirements and workers confident of finding another job if they don’t like the requirements, he said. But he added that the most important impact on the broader economy would be “if employers need vaccines and this helps to get more people vaccinated as it would help end the pandemic faster.”

Write to Eric Morath at eric.morath@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney Cambon at sarah.chaney@wsj.com

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Pandemic

FACT SHEET: Targets for Global COVID-19 Summit

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We invite all participants of the Global COVID-19 Summit to align with us on the global goals and to take the associated necessary measures to end the COVID-19 pandemic and build it better. These global goals and the related actions by governments, international institutions and the private sector are based on the goals set by the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator, the G20, the G7 and members of several expert commissions.

These goals and the associated measures are ambitious – but they are what we need to get on track to end this pandemic and with it the risk it poses to our countries, communities, health and livelihoods. We must act now to vaccinate the world, save lives and build better things. Only if we work together on a shared vision can we defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and help prepare the world for future pandemics.

We also invite all attendees to join in to monitor our progress together. By gathering information about what each of us is doing, we can measure our progress and take the necessary steps to avoid falling behind.

OBJECTIVES: VACCINATION OF THE WORLD

  • Vaccinate the world: Support the WHO’s goal of ensuring that at least 70 percent of the population in every country and in every income bracket are fully vaccinated with high-quality, safe and effective vaccines by UNGA 2022.
  • Deliver cans urgently: Support the G20 goal of “in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) we support the goal of vaccinating at least 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2021”.
  • Making cans in the medium and long term: Additional doses and adequate supplies will be available to all countries in 2022. As the scientific evidence progresses, allocate sufficient funding to produce additional doses for future booster needs in LIC / LMIC.

Asks about governments and international institutions with the appropriate skills: autumn 2021

  • Close the funding and coverage gap for Low Income Countries (LICs) / Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs) for 70 percent coverage by funding, purchasing, or donating an additional 1 billion doses of high quality, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including through COVAX, to support equitable distribution worldwide.
  • Speed ​​up LIC / LMIC vaccination in 2021 by ordering. accelerate Approx. 2.0 billion doses of high-quality, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that have already been promised, including by converting existing promises to split doses into short-term deliveries, exchanging delivery dates to ensure earlier delivery of doses to LIC / LMICs, and removing cross-border bottlenecks in the supply of vaccines and critical inputs.
  • Get Shots in the Arms by providing at least $ 3 billion in 2021 and $ 7 billion in 2022 to fund LIC / LMICs for vaccine readiness and effective use, including supporting the health workforce required to deliver vaccines, combating hesitation, fulfilling legal and contractual requirements, and procuring relief supplies.
  • Make cans available in the medium and long term by supporting sufficient global and regional production, as well as financing possible refreshment needs and future vaccine production; Expansion of the production of mRNA, viral vectors and protein subunits of vaccines (if approved) and technology transfer; and the procurement of up to 3 billion additional doses of high quality, safe and effective vaccines against LIC / LMICs if booster vaccination is recommended by the WHO.
  • Improve accountability and coordination by establishing a robust global dashboard for vaccines, consumables and excipients in 2021, taking into account ongoing efforts to achieve that goal.

Proposed private sector commitments: autumn 2021

  • Start the COVID-19 Corps for Vaccine Readiness and Delivery.
  • Improve transparency on the volume of actual and expected vaccine manufacturing; Provide production forecast and delivery sequence data to the vaccine dashboard to prioritize delivery for LIC / LMICs.
  • Expand global and regional manufacturing for mRNA, viral vector, and / or protein subunit COVID-19 vaccines with a plan for development and funding.

OBJECTIVES: SAVE LIVES NOW

  • Solve the oxygen crisis by making oxygen easily accessible to inpatient healthcare facilities in all countries at short notice and by 2022 at the latest.
  • Eliminate the test gap by achieving test rates of one per 1,000 people per day in all countries by the end of 2021.
  • Improve timely access for all countries to approved, safe and effective therapeutics by making them available to all LIC / LMICs in 2021 and effective new non-IV treatments available in 2022.
  • Development of capacities for the production of PPE for surges and strengthen the coordination of existing stocks to improve access to PPE for all LIC / LMIC healthcare workers in 2021, with excess capacity available for each region in 2022.
  • Improve the detection, monitoring and containment of new COVID-19 variants by improving genome sequencing and data sharing worldwide in 2021 and 2022.

Asks about governments and international institutions with the appropriate skills: autumn 2021

  • To provide $ 2 billion in coordinated support to oxygen ecosystems, including increasing the availability of bulk liquid oxygen in LIC / LMICs by 2022.
  • Fund at least 1 billion high quality, safe, and effective kits / tests for LIC / LMICs by 2022.
  • Donate and deliver $ 1 billion in sufficient courses of approved COVID-19 therapeutics for LIC / LMICs by 2022 and $ 2 billion in 2022 and establish a mechanism for the equitable procurement and delivery of therapeutics.
  • Support the development of capacities for the manufacture of PPE for surge protection and strengthen sales in all regions in 2022.
  • Advocate the G7 / S7 Carbis Bay Declaration to enhance global variant tracking and analysis capabilities by providing resources for expanded global capabilities and supporting the concept of a global pandemic radar.

Proposed private sector commitments: autumn 2021

  • Working with countries and international institutions, develop and fund a $ 2 billion global strategy to support oxygen ecosystems, including the provision of bulk liquid oxygen and other support to inpatient facilities in all countries by the end of 2022.
  • Improve test production by making test kits available in LIC / LMIC for no more than $ 1 per antigen kit.
  • Expand production and provide approved therapeutics for 12 million severe and critical patients.
  • Promote advanced development, including clinical trials and voluntary technology transfer

for next generation COVID-19 therapeutics (ideally oral) for resource poor environments.

  • Commit to bringing together global stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, who are dedicated to building and coordinating transformative capabilities for global variant tracking.

OBJECTIVES: BETTER REDUCTION

  • Create sustainable health security funding by establishing and funding a Global Health Security Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) in 2021.
  • Catalyze political leadership and awareness of biological crises, including by setting up a management level body such as the Global Health Threats Council (GHTC) in 2021.
  • Support the G20 Presidency’s call for a global council of health and finance ministers.

Asks about governments and international institutions with the appropriate skills: autumn 2021

  • At least 30 countries and at least 10 organizations will sign a global health security FIF with a common vision in terms of size, amount of start-up funding (e.g. USD 10 billion) and hosting (e.g. World Bank).
  • Announcing commitments in 2021 to saturate FIF for urgent preparedness needs, with concrete proposals for medium-term sustainable funding that include sources outside of ODA.
  • Surge production commitments and resilient supply chains for PPE, tests, therapeutics and vaccines in all regions.
  • Work on establishing a leadership body like the GHTC in 2021, including designating a chair and co-chair.

Proposed private sector commitments: autumn 2021

  • Individuals or organizations pledge contributions to FIF and launch a “challenge” that brings the non-governmental sector together to sustainably support global health security.
  • Individuals or organizations call together individuals and charities to set up their own mutual fund that feeds the FIF.
  • Individuals or organizations urge governments to set up a GHTC at the political level, which should include seats for civil society, the private sector and / or experts.

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Pandemic

Biden doubles Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine purchase to 1 billion doses, will share with world

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(AP) – President Joe Biden will announce that the United States will double its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 syringes to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he aims to reach 70 over the next several years % of the world population vaccinated year.

The increased US engagement is said to be the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit, which Biden is practically meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where he wants to get wealthy nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control.

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Leading politicians, aid agencies and global health organizations are getting louder and louder about the slow pace of global vaccination and unfair access to vaccination between residents of wealthy and poor nations.

The U.S. purchase will bring the total U.S. vaccination requirement to more than 1.1 billion doses by 2022, according to two senior Biden government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s statements. At least 160 million vaccinations have been delivered by the US and distributed in more than 100 countries, which is more donations than the rest of the world combined.

The latest purchase reflects only a fraction of what it takes to meet the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population – and 70% of the citizens of every nation – by the next UN meeting in September. It is a goal driven by global aid groups that Biden will use his weight to achieve.

The White House said Biden will use the summit to urge other countries to “commit to higher ambitions” in their vaccine exchange plans, including specific challenges they face. Officials said the White House would publicly release the goals for wealthy nations and nonprofits after the summit concludes.

The American response has been criticized as being too modest, especially as the government advocates giving tens of millions of Americans booster vaccinations before vulnerable people in poorer countries have even received an initial dose.

“We have found that multilateralism has failed to respond in a fair and coordinated manner at the most pressing moments. The existing gaps between the nations in relation to the vaccination process are unknown, ”said Colombian President Iván Duque on Tuesday before the United Nations.

In the past year, more than 5.9 billion doses of COVID-19 were administered worldwide, which is about 43% of the world’s population. But there are big differences in the distribution, as many lower-income countries have difficulty vaccinating even the weakest part of their population, and some vaccination rates are still above 2-3%.

In remarks to the United Nations on Tuesday, Biden acknowledged that he had shared more than 160 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with other countries, including 130 million excess doses and the first installments of more than 500 million vaccinations that the US had for the rest USA buy world.

Other leaders made it clear in advance that this was not enough.

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said the “triumph” of rapid vaccine development was offset by a political “failure” that led to an unjust distribution. “In science there was cooperation; in politics, individualism. In science there was common information; in politics, reserve. Teamwork dominated in science; in politics, isolated effort, ”said Piñera.

The World Health Organization says only 15% of promised vaccine donations – from rich countries that have access to large quantities – have been delivered. The UN health agency has announced that countries will meet their commitment to split the dose “immediately” by providing syringes for programs that benefit poor countries, especially Africa.

COVAX, the UN-supported program for sending vaccines to all countries, struggled with production problems, supply bottlenecks and an almost strained market position for vaccines by wealthy nations.

WHO has asked vaccine-making companies to prioritize COVAX and publish their delivery schedules. It has also appealed to wealthy countries to avoid widespread adoption of booster vaccinations so that the doses can be made available to health workers and vulnerable people in developing countries. Such calls were largely ignored.

COVAX has missed almost all of its vaccine-sharing goals. Managers have also cut their ambitions to ship vaccines by the end of this year, from an original target of about 2 billion doses worldwide to now 1.4 billion doses. Even this brand could be overlooked.

As of Tuesday, COVAX had shipped more than 296 million cans to 141 countries.

The global target of 70% is ambitious, not least because of the US experience.

Biden had set a goal of vaccinating 70% of the US adult population by July 4th, but continued reluctance to vaccinate helped the nation only achieve that goal a month later. Nearly 64% of the entire US population have received at least one dose and less than 55% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

US officials hope to increase those numbers in the coming months, both by encouraging the use of vaccination regulations and vaccinating children, once regulators clear vaccination for the under-12 population.

Aid agencies have warned that the persistent inequalities could widen the global pandemic, leading to new and more dangerous varieties. The Delta variant, common in the US, has been shown to be more transmissible than the original strain, although the existing vaccines have prevented nearly all serious illnesses and deaths.

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Associated press writers Jamey Keaten in Geneva, Josh Boak at the United Nations and David Biller in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.

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A case of COVID-19 has made Oregon’s redistricting process even more uncertain

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The floor of the house was empty in the Oregon Capitol on Tuesday, September 21, after lawmakers suspended face-to-face meetings following news of COVID-19 exposure the previous day.

Sam Stites / OPB

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Oregon House Republicans showed signs Tuesday that they were stepping down from a special legislative session, and a day after House Speaker Tina Kotek abandoned an agreement with the GOP, a roadblock to Democratic proposals for thrown new political cards.

But before the GOP legislators could officially make a decision, COVID intervened.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the Capitol Numbers were informed that someone who had been in the building on Monday had tested positive for the coronavirus, further complicating an extremely tense and tight redistribution process.

“This is obviously an evolving situation and hopefully we’ll be back tomorrow to close our deal,” said House spokeswoman Tina Kotek.

But an email sent from the Kotek office to members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday evening announced that lawmakers were not expected to arrive at the Capitol until Saturday. And that both rapid and PCR COVID tests will be made available in Salem on Thursday to lawmakers and employees who may have been exposed, so the results of those tests can be returned by Friday afternoon.

“It will also give the House of Representatives ample time to confirm the quorum and complete its work by voting on the bills the Senate has passed for consideration by the House of Representatives,” the email said. “As always, our top priority is to protect the health and safety of the Capitol community while complying with the constitutional duty of lawmakers.”

The infected person’s identity was not disclosed, nor was their political affiliation disclosed. By Tuesday afternoon, four Republicans had submitted excused absence requests for Wednesday, citing in particular the proximity to the infected person or the need for self-quarantine. According to documents received through a request for public records, no such requests have been made by democratic lawmakers.

The news of the COVID infection adds even greater uncertainty to the decade-long process of reorganizing the state’s political districts. Legislators must pass new maps for the state’s 90 legislative districts and soon six congressional districts by Monday, September 27, or they will lose their ability to control the process. Two bills to implement these cards, Senate Acts 881 and 882, went straight through the Senate on Monday on the party line.

Even so, the legislature’s ability to be successful this year seems to be getting less and less likely every day. Last week, House Republicans announced they would not support Democratic proposals that could give the party permanent majorities in the legislature and a 5-1 dominance over Oregon’s congressional seats.

Republican opinion mattered because House spokesman Kotek gave the party an equal say on the Chamber’s redistribution committee earlier this year under an agreement to end delaying tactics. In theory, this gave the GOP the ability to veto any proposal.

But given the likelihood that her party’s political cards would be hindered, Kotek turned it down on Monday, the first day of the special session.

In a move that surprised many at the Capitol, the spokesman replaced the former equally divided House Redistribution Committee with two separate committees – one for the Congress card, one for the Legislative card. Kotek staffed these committees in such a way that her party’s proposals reached parliament.

The maneuver made the Republicans sneak towards the exits. Without at least three House Republicans in attendance, Democrats cannot achieve the two-thirds quorum required to conduct business and their cards would die.

But while Republicans made it clear on Monday that they were considering a strike, they never announced a decision to leave the Capitol. Instead, a House Floor meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning was postponed to 1 p.m., apparently at the behest of the House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby.

When 1 p.m. arrived, there appeared to be no Republicans on the Capitol grounds. But COVID-19 postponed any clarity as to whether the party would deny the Democrats a quorum.

“In the last hour we were notified that a person who was at the Capitol yesterday tested positive for COVID,” said Kotek as he stepped onto the podium of the house shortly after 1:20 pm. “Our goal is to keep Capitol business as safe as possible. We are working with the governor and the Oregon Health Authority to ensure that tests are available to those who were in close contact with the positive case. “

Kotek adjourned the house at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, although it was unclear how many lawmakers would show up given the positive case. Kotek said vaccinated lawmakers did not need to be quarantined, but it was unclear whether they would need to be given a test before attending the meeting.

In a statement, Drazan said that its members would continue talks about new cards.

“It is in the Oregonians’ best interests that we save an opportunity to pass fair cards,” she said. “You deserve fair representation despite the unexpected steps the spokesman took yesterday.”

The added chaos of COVID fears wasn’t the only factor hampering Democratic attempts to hand over political cards. On Tuesday morning, MP Marty Wilde, D-Eugene, sent a burning letter to his colleagues in the House of Representatives announcing that he would refuse to endorse his party’s proposed legislative plans.

Wilde hinted in the email that he was a critic of how the Senate Democrats’ first law cards treated the Eugene area and that his criticism was retaliation. According to the cards passed through the Senate on Monday, Wilde’s house had been moved to a republican district.

“I can’t tell you how many people have told me in the past week, ‘It’s not personal,'” Wilde wrote in the message. “My friends, it IS personal. I got it straight from you and the Senate Ds that the Senate insisted, even after Tina [Kotek] advocated for me…. I had the boldness to raise my voice and was punished for it. “

Wilde’s vote would not be required if the Democrats were able to put the proposals to the vote by an overwhelming majority, unless other members of the party are similarly offended. The legislature’s letter on Tuesday resulted in a response from State Representative Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, who spearheaded Democratic redistribution efforts in the House of Representatives.

“I believe I said to you last week, ‘It’s not personal,’ which means no one knew where you lived and targeted you when choosing the line,” Salinas wrote, adding, that the cards “reflect population growth, compliance with the law and” public feedback.

PlanScore, an online non-partisan tool that analyzes redistribution proposals for partisan bias, suggests that the card of Congress that Democrats hope to pass is heavily favored in the interests of their party. The tool suggests that the new legislative cards are relatively balanced and could easily favor Republicans in some aspects, although they would likely still guarantee Democratic majorities.

If the legislature does not pass new legislative plans by September 27, responsibility for the process rests with Democratic Foreign Minister Shemia Fagan. Should the legislature fail to pass a new congressional plan, that task would be turned over to the state courts.

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