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Gov. Newsom Stands Firm on Mandates as State Reaches COVID-19 Milestone

California’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is currently 16th in the country with 71.8% of the population fully vaccinated.

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Moscow - Sep 12, 2021: Vaccinated young woman showing COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, healthy person in mask after getting corona virus vaccine. Coronavirus vaccine shot and immunization mandate.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom took to Twitter earlier this month to praise Californians for getting vaccinated when the state’s COVID-19 rate dropped to 57.3 cases per 100,000 people, the lowest in the U.S.

“Eighty-five percent of eligible Californians have received at least one COVID vaccine shot. The result? California continues to have the lowest case rate in the nation,” he said.

California’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is currently 16th in the country with 71.8% of the population fully vaccinated.

For now, students will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6).

The coronavirus vaccines will be added to other vaccines like ones for measles, mumps rubella, tetanus, and whooping cough, for example, that are required without exception for all students in the state. For those and other shots explicitly stated in California law, no waivers are allowed for any reason, even religious or philosophical ones.

But even though the state’s COVID-19 rates have flattened and the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths have significantly dropped, the governor is facing mounting protests from people opposed to government-imposed vaccine mandates, including parents who do not want their children to take the shot.

Responding to those critics, Newsom’s campaign sent out a letter that included a survey asking recipients for feedback on his vaccine mandate for schoolchildren.

“As you have probably heard, California is the first state in the nation to require our students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This will go into effect following full FDA approval,” Newsom said in the letter.  “Why did I make this decision? Because it’s the right thing to do, and it will keep our kids safe. This decision may not be popular with some of the people who protest vaccination sites and are opposed to mask-wearing in almost any circumstance, but it will save lives.”

On October 8, Newsom also signed several bills that give dentists, podiatrists and optometrists the authority to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Those bills are Assembly Bills (AB) 526, 691 and 1064.

The governor also tweeted his advice on vaccine booster shots.

“Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Get your booster when it’s your turn,” tweeted Newsom.

As it currently stands, booster shots are not required but are authorized for “individuals 65 years of age and older, individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19, and individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19,” according to the FDA.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock highlighted the fluid nature of the nation’s pandemic response.

“This pandemic is dynamic and evolving, with new data about vaccine safety and effectiveness becoming available every day,” Woodcock stated in a press release.

“As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” Woodcock continued.

California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.

Bay Area

COMMENTARY: Happy Thanksgiving, and Please Get Vaccinated

To all our staff who have been working so incredibly hard over the past few months to welcome our students and families back to school safely with such grace: You all inspire me and our whole community, and I deeply appreciate all that you do each and every day on behalf of our young people and families.

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Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District.

By Supt. Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell

Dear Oakland Unified Community,

As we now begin the Thanksgiving break, I must give thanks for being part of such a wonderful community, with brilliant and beautiful children, caring and supportive families, and amazingly dedicated staff.

It has always been clear to me that here in Oakland, we watch out for each other and take care of each other, especially in the most challenging times.

Last week, my family went to our doctor’s office to get our flu and COVID vaccines. Getting my family vaccinated has given me so much relief and hope as we plan to gather with grandparents and other family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Our staff and partners are working tirelessly to make sure all OUSD families have access to the COVID vaccine across the city. I am so proud of the amazing efforts of our staff to reach out to our most vulnerable populations and help them get vaccinated.

They have reached out to families with thousands of phone calls and letters to answer questions and provide resources and facts about the vaccine. Additionally, this (past) week alone, we co-hosted 21 vaccination pop-ups that served 35 of our schools in neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID.

We heard from Cheryl Narvaez, the parent of a second grader and a fourth grader at Think College Now and what she said was so inspiring. “Our family was eager to get vaccinated as soon as we could since we were going to spend some time with family (including grandparents) during the holiday season. I told my kids that if they got vaccinated, it would help keep everyone extra healthy and safe AND that they could potentially play with cousins and other friends indoors. Once they heard that, they said ‘yes!’”

Narvaez further shared what a positive experience she and her students had by getting vaccinated. “After it was done, I felt a huge sense of relief that my kids had an extra layer of protection from COVID. I am also proud that they were so brave and were opened to sharing their positive experience with others. They also told me that they were surprised that the shot was so quick!”

We are also working with our partners to ensure that our community has access to lots of COVID-19 testing during Thanksgiving break, so that students, staff, and family members can get tested before returning to school.

We trust that families will stay as safe as possible during Thanksgiving break, but we also know that with travel and indoor gatherings, community COVID spread is always a possibility. I urge you once again to get your family vaccinated and to test after traveling or attending large gatherings, before school resumes on Monday, November 29.

We also provided at-home rapid test kits to students attending Child Development Centers, elementary schools, and middle schools in high priority ZIP codes. Each kit contains two tests for testing on Sunday, November 28 prior to returning to school and again on Wednesday, December 1. We had hoped to provide these kits to all students and staff who want them, but the state’s supply is still limited.

To all our staff who have been working so incredibly hard over the past few months to welcome our students and families back to school safely with such grace: You all inspire me and our whole community, and I deeply appreciate all that you do each and every day on behalf of our young people and families.

To our students, families, and staff: I know the last year-and-a-half have been difficult for all of us, but we have real reason for hope as we enter this holiday season. I ask that you join me and my family in getting vaccinated, masking up when gathering, and encouraging others to do the same. I wish you and your family all the best next week: safe, loving, and joyful days together.

Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District.

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Commentary

COVID-19: Gov. Newsom Signs Executive Order Supporting Healthcare Facilities

Although 88% of Californians 18 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, cases are on the rise as California loses its top position among states with the lowest case rates. Newsom has raised concerns about cases increasing during the winter months.

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During a press conference on Nov. 10, the Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Californians not to become complacent.
During a press conference on Nov. 10, the Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Californians not to become complacent.

By Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing out-of-state healthcare workers to supplement staffing at healthcare facilities across California.

The order is an extension of a statewide COVID-19 provision that also allows “certain medical personnel and emergency medical technicians to continue supporting the state’s COVID-19 response, including administering vaccines,” according to the governor’s office.

Although 88% of Californians 18 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, cases are on the rise as California loses its top position among states with the lowest case rates.

Newsom has raised concerns about cases increasing during the winter months.

“COVID cases are beginning to rise — winter months mean people indoors & more possibilities for spread. The unvaccinated are now almost 7 [times] more likely to get COVID, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized–and 18 [times] more likely to die. Keep your immunity up. Get your booster,” Newsom tweeted.

The executive order allows health care facilities to use alternative spaces like parking lots to administer vaccinations.

California health officials are encouraging any adult who wants a COVID-19 booster shot to get one as eligibility has been extended to all adults.

During a press conference on Nov. 10, the governor warned Californians not to become complacent.

“It was around this time last year that folks started to put their masks down a little bit and started to feel like we can spend a little time together outside of our households,” Newsom said. “We’re looking forward to all that, I’m looking forward to all of that, seeing friends and family. I just want to remind people to do it with some common sense and the kind of protections we’re here today to promote.”

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Bay Area

Thanksgiving Travel Expected to Be Near Pre-Pandemic Levels 

“Travel volumes have recovered within 5% of pre-pandemic levels, and air travel has almost entirely recovered from its dramatic decline during (the pandemic), up 80% over last year,” said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Those traveling this Thanksgiving can expect to face more crowded roads and airports than they’ve seen in some time.”

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@khulak @BCN_Foundation @BlackPressUSA @NNPA_BlackPress @flySFO @AirportPTK @IFlyOAKland
Two airplanes on a runway at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). SFO, located at 780 McDonnell Road in San Francisco, is an enterprise department of the City and County of San Francisco. Photo courtesy of SFO.

By Kari Hulac | Bay City News Foundation

People should pack some extra patience this year if they’re traveling for Thanksgiving. Airports and highways will likely be crowded as more than 7 million Californians are expected to leave home for turkey festivities — a 14% increase over last year, according to AAA Northern California.

Although more Californians will be traveling than in 2020, the numbers are predicted to be slightly less than during the pre-pandemic holiday season in 2019.

“Travel volumes have recovered within 5% of pre-pandemic levels, and air travel has almost entirely recovered from its dramatic decline during (the pandemic), up 80% over last year,” said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Those traveling this Thanksgiving can expect to face more crowded roads and airports than they’ve seen in some time.”

Between Nov. 24 and Nov. 28, Oakland International Airport is projecting 167,000 total departing and arriving passengers to pass through the airport for the Thanksgiving holiday, based on airline schedules.

“We expect passenger traffic to be in the range of 70% to 80% of what was seen during the same period in 2019,” said Oakland International Airport spokesperson Kaley Skantz.

San Francisco International Airport says the lifting of the international travel ban for vaccinated visitors will mean more passenger traffic over the holidays and said with more airline seats now available, SFO anticipates reaching 60% to 65% of pre-pandemic passenger levels.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not currently asking Americans to stay home if they’re vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are encouraged not to travel, and either way, masks must be worn on all forms of mass public transit.

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