Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced the launch of another campaign offering freebies in exchange for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The “Shots on Goal” campaign launched Thursday. If individuals get their vaccination from any of the five pop-up clinics listed, they will receive a coupon booklet with 11 different incentives valued at over $100 from 20 different businesses.
Metro government will provide a partial reimbursement to the businesses involved. If a vaccinated individual takes advantage of every coupon in their booklet, the total cost to Metro would be $36. The mayor’s office clarified that these funds would come from their CARES Act reserves. The campaign didn’t mention a limit on the number of coupon booklets handed out.
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is the first university in the state to join President Joe Biden’s “COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge.” MTSU announced their decision on Thursday.
Since MTSU made their announcement, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and Lane College have also joined the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge. MTSU President Sidney McPhee said that the vaccinations were just another common sense step to control COVID-19.
Pop star Miley Cyrus held a free Pride Month-themed concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday – but only for vaccinated people. Less than 2,500 people were granted entry; no phones or cameras were allowed.
In order to get a free ticket, fans had to flash their vaccination cards as proof of immunization. Although those in line were likely vaccinated, several still wore masks. Local historian David Ewing documented pictures and video of fans standing in line waiting for their free tickets. It appears from the video that the line wrapped around the building and down Commerce Street.
Governor Newsom announced Thursday a $116.5 million vaccine incentive program including $1.5 million in cash prizes to encourage Californians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
California follows other states in offering big vaccine incentive payouts, New York is giving out scratch-off tickets for the chance to win up to $5 million, according to Politico.
“California has already made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the country while administering millions more vaccines than any other state,” Newsom said in a release. “But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us fully reopen safely.”
A concert promoter in Florida is selling $18 discounted tickets to an upcoming show for those who have been vaccinated and charging $999.99 per ticket for those who have not, ABC News reports.
Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions in Tampa Bay is organizing the concert which is set to take place on June 26 at the VFW Post 39 venue in St. Petersburg. It will feature performances from three punk rock banks: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin, according to the report.
Posters for the punk event feature an image of “Nightmare on Elm Street” killer Freddy Krueger with needles for fingers and the Leadfoot Promotions booking page advises attendees to bring their “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” showing they have had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or before 6/12/2021.
A Christian nonprofit legal group has sent a letter to the University of Alabama-Birmingham after the public university blocked a student from registering for classes because she would not take vaccines.
The letter from First Liberty Institute asks university officials to follow the religious exemption it granted Jackie Gale for her first year at school. The university does not currently mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Due to Ms. Gale’s religious beliefs, she cannot receive the childhood immunizations UAB requires under its immunization policy,” Christine Pratt, counsel for First Liberty, wrote in a May 13 demand letter.
A Chattanooga boys preparatory school emailed students that they could skip a final exam and go maskless if they got the COVID-19 vaccine. Parents reportedly didn’t receive the email about the vaccination incentive, which also required that 500 students receive the vaccine. This information also didn’t make it to the school’s press release concerning the vaccine.
Publicly, McCallie School shared that it would be mandating the COVID-19 vaccine come fall. In their official announcement, McCallie School shared that they would mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. Nowhere did they mention that vaccinated students would receive a special exemption from the final exam of their choice and school mask mandates.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control did an about-face, announcing that the fully vaccinated among us may resume normal activities. The news came more than a year after California initiated the first lockdown on March 19, 2020.
The CDC’s new posture comes with some narrow exceptions. If you’re traveling on a plane or find yourself in a homeless shelter or in a medical or correctional facility, you still need to wear a mask; and the CDC made sure to clarify, apparently out of great deference for federalism and Hayekian spontaneous order, that its guidance does not predominate over the requirements of federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Before the CDC updated its pandemic guidance, this was exactly the position espoused by libertarian law professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. Writing from his regular perch at the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, Somin’s argument is summarized nicely in the subheading of his piece, “Free the Vaccinated from COVID Restrictions”: “Doing so will protect constitutional rights, reduce vaccine hesitancy, and increase liberty—all at once.”
Facebook’s “fact-checkers” cannot agree on the legality of university COVID vaccine mandates.
Disagreement about the legality of the COVID vaccines is understandable — The College Fix explored this topic several weeks ago in our own article, but the problem is that a Facebook fact-check on an article can lead to reduced distribution.
And enough strikes against a page can lead to a permanent ban. The College Fix has seen this firsthand, after Facebook overlords punished us for sharing the comments of an epidemiologist who made a prediction about what would happen if lockdowns were lifted.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced last week that they will continue enforcing their mask mandate indefinitely. The announcement came out Friday – the same day that Metro Nashville health officials ended the mask mandate.
The Tennessee Star reported on a recent court ruling that schools lacked the legal authority to impose a mask mandate contrary to state and their local government policy decisions. The Star inquired with MNPS about the relationship between this ruling and their decision to continue the mask mandate. MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted told The Star that the case referenced doesn’t prevent a school district from enacting or enforcing mask requirements. The Star asked if this ruling would jeopardize MNPS’s qualified immunity if parents challenged the mask mandate in court. Braisted responded that MNPS wouldn’t comment on hypothetical legal challenges.
At least 40 percent of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine according to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FDA official Dr. Peter Marks.
During a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Richard Burr (R-Va.) asked Fauci, Marks, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky what percentage of their own employees were vaccinated.
Both Fauci and Marks estimated that a little more than half—perhaps around 60 percent of their employees—have been vaccinated. Walensky waffled, saying only that she was “encouraging employees to get vaccinated,” but couldn’t say how many have actually done so.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told schools nationwide on Saturday they should plan to keep students in masks because of the limited vaccinations of children.
“CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year,” the agency said in new guidance for students issued just days after it cleared vaccinated adults to ditch their masks in most instances.
“All schools should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing,” it added.
Some Latino adults are concerned to get a COVID-19 vaccine because they might have to provide identification or are worried it could affect their immigration status, according to a poll released Thursday.
Of the total number of unvaccinated Latino adults who were polled, 39% said they were concerned about potential requirements to provide a government-issued ID or Social Security number to be vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor poll. And 35% of respondents expressed concerns that receiving the vaccine could negatively impact their own or a relative’s immigration status.
“Among unvaccinated Hispanic adults, those who are potentially undocumented, those without health insurance, and those with lower household incomes are more likely to express potential access-related barriers or immigration-related concerns to vaccination,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
According to the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD), Nashville’s mask mandate was supposed to continue despite the latest CDC recommendation. However, health officials quickly reversed their decision within hours, and without offering a detailed explanation. As The Tennessee Star reported Friday, the mask mandate ended on Friday morning at 5 a.m. CST. The Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) shared that the decision was made by certain Metro health officials, who convened after Thursday’s board of health meeting.
MPHD said in a press release that certain Metro health officials met after the Metro Board of Health meeting Thursday to further review the CDC recommendations. It is unclear what further information caused them to change their minds. In response to inquiries from The Star, the MPHD spokesperson shared the same MPHD press release. He said that there weren’t any other reasons for the reversal beyond what’s been shared publicly.
Michigan surpassed a milestone of injecting 50% of residents ages 16 and older with a first vaccine, but is still roughly 1.6 million people short of hitting the goal needed to drop all restrictions.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out the plan last week.
The state must reach 55% of Michiganders ages 16 and older, or another 408,594 people, plus two weeks to reach complete immunity for the Whitmer administration to allow in-person work for all business sectors statewide.
Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said fully vaccinated Floridians should go maskless despite the CDC’s recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rivkees rescinded previous public health advisories on Thursday through a three-page advisory saying state offices should return to in-person working environments and long-term mask-wearing can cause unintended consequences.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the municipality is putting together a plan to relax its mask mandate by as early as June. “We are working with the department of health on a plan to phase reducing requirements of wearing facial coverings and social distancing,” Demings said. “We are reviewing how CDC requirements are evolving along with COVID infection data and a plan will be announced soon.”
Border officials in south Texas consistently face exposure to COVID-19, don’t have the resources to do their job and are regularly called in for overtime shifts, two active agents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Many Customs and Border Protection (CBP) field agents work 50-hour weeks and now are required to report for 10-hour long overtime shifts even after they are exposed to migrants who test positive for COVID-19, an active CBP agent told the DCNF. The agents spoke on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak with members of the media.
“CBP gives us a job, but they seem more concerned with getting the job done than with the actual agents,” an active agent told the DCNF. “They want the mission to succeed. We don’t have the resources we need to do our jobs but we make do with what we have. We don’t have enough agents, transport, technology, or aircraft to help us out.”
On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved a bill to make county health boards as advisory bodies only, and to prohibit mandatory vaccine passports. The bill was introduced by State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), and also sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).
Currently, the components limiting county health boards’ powers and prohibiting vaccine passport mandates aren’t listed as part of the bill. They were introduced as an amendment in the House on Tuesday. Additionally, the bill would relegate local health authority to the state and limit county health officers’ quarantine-mandating powers – individuals and places that aren’t known to have contributed to the spread of a disease may not be quarantined.
Nonprofit social advocacy organization Tennessee Stands will rally in support of an amendment for vaccine religious exemptions on Wednesday. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee will be reviewing the bill carrying the amendment that day, which seeks to prohibit government-mandated COVID-19 vaccines.
In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Tennessee Stands founder Gary Humble explained that this rally would allow Tennessee lawmakers to see the support this bill has among their constituents.
On Tuesday, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) publicly petitioned for the World Health Organization (WHO) to let the Chinese government take charge of a proposed “vaccine passport” system for the entire world in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic that China started, as reported by Breitbart.
The proposal appeared in the Global Times, a Chinese government-run newspaper, which said that China could utilize its connections to Big Tech companies in order to build and sustain an international tracking system for any individuals who either have or have not yet received a coronavirus vaccine.
As more people receive vaccines across the U.S. coronavirus cases have continued to fall, but one-third of Americans still say they will not get one, according to a Thursday NPR/Marist poll.
While 45% said they would get vaccinated and 22% said that they had already received a shot, 30% of Americans said they would not get one, the poll showed. Among Republicans, 41% said they would not take one, compared to just 11% of Democrats.
Those unwilling leapt to 49% among Republican men, while just 6% of Democratic men said the same.
Pfizer said Wednesday that real-world data suggests its coronavirus vaccine is 94% effective in halting asymptomatic infections and effective against a highly transmissible variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.
Israeli analysis of vaccine distribution shows the vaccine being over 97% effective in preventing symptomatic cases and death, higher than the 90% efficiency that was reported in the vaccine’s Phase III trials, Pfizer said in a press release Thursday. Over 80% of the tested specimens were against the UK variant known as B.1.1.7.
Select Tennessee prisoners will now receive COVID-19 vaccinations, following a report on officials’ apparent hesitancy to prioritize them initially. The state progressed to Phase 1C of its vaccination plan earlier this week, which extends vaccines to those prisoners who are 65 and older or have eligible health conditions. Others now eligible to receive the vaccine are individuals 16 years old and older that have diabetes, Down syndrome, or any progressive neuromuscular diseases, or live in households with pregnant women.
The announcement to vaccinate these prisoners came shortly after it was discovered that officials determining the order of vaccine priority groups were hesitant to prioritize prisoners due to the optics of placing them ahead of other citizens. The Pandemic Vaccine Planning Stakeholder group, an advisory panel that assists in vaccine rollout decisions and communication with citizens across the state, reportedly stated during one of its meetings that prioritizing prisoners could prove a public relations “nightmare” and, possibly, a state liability. The Associated Press discovered these remarks in an open records request for the group’s meeting notes late last week.
The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel voted Friday evening to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency approval, clearing the way for its authorization, distribution and administration nationwide.
The vote followed hours of the panel live-streaming its process of scouring over data from the pharmaceutical company in order to reaffirm that the vaccine was safe for the millions of Americans who will receive it. The FDA also released the vaccine’s clinical trial data on Wednesday showing that the vaccine was effective in fighting the virus itself.
Recent studies indicate that the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines may have reduced protection against the South African coronavirus strain, according to reports in the New England Journal of Medicine, raising concerns that they could be less effective against future mutations.
Though both vaccines appeared to generate enough antibodies to neutralize the mutant strain, they both produced fewer antibodies when compared to the original virus. But experts warned that it was unclear just how much protection was needed to neutralize the variant, which scientists believe is more contagious than the original strain.
State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) filed a bill for introduction that would amend certain aspects of the Tennessee Code relative to discrimination. Senate Bill 320 would expand the Code’s provisions to prevent businesses from denying services to individuals who don’t wear or use a certain medical device, or if they haven’t received a certain medical treatment. It would also prevent local government entities from enforcing individual compliance with those medical devices or treatments.
Medical devices covered by the bill are instruments; apparatuses; implements; machines; appliances; implants; reagents for in vitro use; softwares; and materials such as face masks, shields, or cloth coverings. Medical treatments are procedures or medications such as immunizations.
Despite reports of individuals engaging in “vaccine tourism,” state officials said they won’t be checking residency before administering COVID-19 vaccines. In a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Kathleen Toomey responded to a reporter’s inquiry about individuals admitting they were traveling from out of state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia.
“I think it’s important that everybody know: we’re not going to be checking driver’s licenses, we’re not going to police this process. Does that mean somebody may slip in from out of state? Possibly,” stated Toomey. “I think it’s important that we don’t want to be policemen. We want to encourage as much vaccination as we can.”
Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio who outlined the politicization of the COVID vaccine and government run education.
Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss the success of Operation Warp Speed under President Trump and circumventing bureaucracy.
The nurse who appeared to faint after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in a viral video has recovered, according to a statement issued by her employer. Tiffany Dover, a nurse at CHI Memorial Hospital, reportedly came close to passing out due to a medical condition unrelated to the vaccination.
The hospital also cited information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, which stated that fainting sometimes occurs after all types of vaccinations.
Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to explain the mainstream media’s vaccination facination and the COVID death rate in the United States.
As the winter months, colder weather and the holiday season are approaching, the coronavirus numbers, encompassing a number of different metrics, have been increasing throughout Virginia over the last month or so, according to government officials.
At a televised briefing Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam said the state is seeing a rise in cases, percent positivity – now at 6.2 percent – and hospitalizations.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, affiliated with the Republican party, has made no bones about the fact that masks, distancing, testing and tracing (a mantra driven deeply into the minds of Ohioans over the past eight months) will be the norm until there is a vaccine – with a significant uptake.
On Tuesday The Ohio Star asked the governor if it was his position to mandate vaccines and immunity certificates in order for buckeyes to return to normal life. The Star also asked if he intended to use backdoor mandates to force compliance with his wish for Ohioans to vaccinate.
An email from Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes riled-up Ohioans. The email was sent Tuesday to prospective attendees of an ODH webinar on the state’s vaccine plan.
In the email, Himes wrote, “It is important to note that the Ohio COVID-19 Vaccination Program strategy is a draft framework outlining how to implement mandatory requirements once more details of a vaccine are known.”
Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.
Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”
During the twice-weekly COVID presser, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine invited Dr. Abigail Norris-Turner on Thursday to speak to Ohioans. Norris-Turner revealed the results of a random statewide antibody study former Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton mentioned in April and promised May 11.
Regarding the 1,200-person study, Acton said during a press conference on May 11 “[t]hey’re volunteering to help us learn more about the prevalence of this disease, many of whom may not know they have had it.”
Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to the newsmakers line.
At the end of the second hour, Azar discussed the developments in the coronavirus vaccine trials and Operation Warp Speed. He added that all the proper gold standard requirements are being met to develop a safe vaccine in the shortest amount of time.
Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) continues to challenge Governor Tim Walz’s emergency executive powers, even after their private meeting Thursday. The two disagree about the necessity of Minnesota’s continued state of emergency.
Their meeting marked the 175th day of Walz’s orders.
U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines. Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.