The Washington state Department of Health says it will immediately start offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to certain people after recommendations from the US Food and Drug Administration and other groups.
State health officials said Friday that at least six months after completing the primary Pfizer vaccine series, people age 65 and older; people age 18 and older living in a long-term care setting; and people age 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities, should receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Officials say there are not yet recommendations for people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines.
Santa FE: Recriminations about face-mask mandates are creating new tension between Democratic candidates in the election campaign for mayor in Santa Fe. In a flier distributed by mail Friday, incumbent Mayor Alan Webber highlighted a dissenting vote by mayoral candidate and City Councilor Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler last year in the creation of a city ordinance requiring face masks.
The ordinance reinforced a statewide mask mandate from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the early months of the pandemic, before vaccines were available.
Vigil Coppler says she considered the ordinance impractical but never opposed state mask requirements and called the ad a distortion.
Las Vegas: Thousands of hotel, casino and restaurant workers marched Friday on the Las Vegas Strip to highlight their call for employers to rehire more people who were furloughed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the reopening of casinos and hotels, Culinary Union officials said about one-third of its members — or about 21,000 workers — remain out of work some 19 months after the Covid-19 pandemic hit Nevada.
Many idled employees have now exhausted public unemployment benefits, they said.
“Workers in Las Vegas have built the hospitality industry over the Culinary Union’s 87 years and they should be centered as the economy recovers from the devastating impacts of Covid-19,” the union said in a statement ahead of the evening event scheduled to coincide with shift changes on a busy weekend of Strip sports and entertainment.
“This march is not a protest against any casino company,” union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said Friday. “It is a march, not a strike, rally, action, or a demonstration.”
Workers chanted “full-service restaurants” and “full-service cleaning” as they started marching Friday evening from Flamingo Road on Las Vegas Boulevard where police closed off sections of The Strip.
The union statement said the goal was to highlight that hospitality workers “are ready to prepare and serve great food in full-service restaurants, make and serve quality drinks and beverages, and ensure guest rooms are cleaned and sanitized daily.”
Seoul: South Korea’s daily increase in coronavirus infections exceeded 3,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic as the country comes off its biggest holiday of the year.
The 3,273 new cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Saturday marked the 81st consecutive day of over 1,000 and were about 840 cases more than the previous one-day record of 2,434 set a day earlier.
More than 2,500 of the new cases were from capital Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas, where transmissions have accelerated despite officials enforcing the country’s toughest social distancing rules short of a lockdown since July, banning private social gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m. unless participants are fully vaccinated.
Officials believe the virus spread further beyond the capital region during the Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving which began on the weekend and continued through Wednesday, a period during which millions usually travel across the country to meet relatives. Officials say the country may see even bigger daily jumps next week as more people get tested.
Less than 45% of a population of more than 51 million were fully vaccinated as of Saturday morning.
Juneau: Alaska reported more than 1,700 resident Covid-19 cases Friday. But state health officials says that includes reports from earlier this month as they work to clear a backlog that has built up during the latest case surge.
Health officials encourage looking at cases by their symptom onset date versus the date they were submitted to the state health department. The state epidemiologist says Alaska is in the biggest surge that it has experienced during the pandemic.
A weekly report from the department says the state had more people hospitalized with Covid-19 than it did at the peak of a prior surge late last year.
Kailua-Kona: The Ironman World Championship will be held outside Hawaii for the first time in four decades.
That is due to uncertainty over whether the Big Island will be able to host the triathlon as scheduled in February because of the coronavirus pandemic. West Hawaii Today reports triathletes will instead head to St. George, Utah, to compete on May 7.
Organizers plan to bring the contest back to the islands in October 2022. Ironman participants swim, ride bikes and run a marathon. The first race was held in Honolulu in the 1970s. It moved to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island in 1981.