COVID News: US surgeon general defends Biden's vaccine mandate

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is defending President Joe Biden's sweeping vaccine mandate impacting millions of American workers.

His comments came after the Biden administration released new federal rules classifying COVID as an occupational hazard, requiring companies with 100 or more employees to make workers show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing.

"When you think about the workplace, in particular, it's so important that our workers are safe, the workers feel safe there, the customers also feel safe," Dr. Murthy said. "There are times where we recognize that our decisions have a broader effect on the people around us. COVID has reminded us of that."

More than two dozen states have already filed lawsuits against the new rule, which takes effect on January 4.

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:



Broadway extends vaccine mandate
The Broadway League will extend its vaccine mandate for audience members through Feb. 28 and masks are still required inside.

There are new rules for international visitors and kids under 12: International guests must show proof of two doses of any combination of an FDA or WHO approved shot and kids under 12 must show proof of one shot or a negative COVID test.

NYC schools begin hosting pop-up COVID-19 vaccine sites
New York City is kicking off a massive effort to get children from 5 to 11 years old vaccinated, and public schools across all five boroughs began hosting vaccination sites Monday and will continue to do so for at least the next week. Students must be accompanied by an adult and have verbal consent from a parent or guardian.

International tourists on flights to US welcomed back to NYC for 1st time in 20 months
New York City and the U.S. marked a monumental moment in the nation's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic Monday with the return of international tourists. JFK Airport led the nation's welcome party with the first flights, and there were emotional moments as families are reunited for the first time in 20 months.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," said Alex Yip, who along with his brother Frank embraced their mother after her Cathay Pacific Flight from Hong Kong.

Biden administration urges schools to provide COVID vaccines for kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to kids - and information to parents on the benefits of the shots - as the White House looks to speedily provide vaccines to those ages 5 to 11. First lady Jill Biden and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy are set to visit the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, on Monday to launch a nationwide campaign to promote child vaccinations. The school was the first to administer the polio vaccine in 1954. The visit comes just days after federal regulators recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for the age group. The White House says Biden will visit pediatric vaccination clinics across the country over the coming weeks to encourage the shots.

93% of NYC city workforce now vaxxed, mayor says
93% of New York City municipal workers are now vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. The updated vaccination breakout includes 86% of sanitation workers (up from 62%); 86% of NYPD employees (up from 70%); 82% of FDNY firefighters (up from 58%); and 91% of FDNY EMS workers (up from 61%). In all, 26,926 city employees have received shots since October 20 and 4,454 since November 1, de Blasio said.

COVID vaccine refusal 10th highest reason for job cuts in 2021, report says
While experts say we're still in the so-called "Great Resignation," a recent Jobs Cut Report uncovered vaccine refusal as the 10th highest reason for job cuts this year. Numbers released by Chicago-based outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. came on on the same day President Biden announced new federal guidance and deadline for tens of millions of workers to get vaccinated.
"Roughly 5,000 people that lost their jobs in the last month due to COVID vaccine refusal made up actually 22% of the total number of people that we tracked being let go across the country," the firm's Senior VP Andy Challenger told our sister station KGO-TV.

Turkey Day troubles? Smaller birds, popular Thanksgiving sides could be harder to find in 2021
Consumers may have to trim their list of trimmings for their highly anticipated Thanksgiving meal this year. Top turkey seller Butterball said it doesn't expect an overall gobbler shortage, but that those in search of a smaller size bird could have a hard time.

"Typically a 10- to 12-pound (turkey) up to 14 pounds is going to be more difficult," Butterball CEO Jay Jandrain told Good Morning America. "Anything over 16 pounds, they'll certainly be more readily available."

Q&A: What to know about COVID-19 vaccines for kids aged 5-11
Vaccinations finally are available to U.S. children as young as 5, to the relief of some parents even as others have questions or fears. Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final OK for youngsters age 5 to 11 to get kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. Pediatricians and other doctors' groups praised the move and are gearing up to help families decide whether to vaccinate their children. The shots could be available as soon as Wednesday and will be offered at pediatricians offices, clinics and pharmacies. Like COVID-19 vaccines for adults, they are free. Here's everything you need to know.

Will the supply chain issues impact holiday shopping? Here's what the experts say
With the holiday shopping suddenly upon us, it appears that getting that perfect gift or preparing that perfect meal will be far more challenging than in years past due to supply chain issues. Shoppers are noticing that it's difficult to find a variety of items, and virtually everything from food to Christmas trees are more expensive. The price increase is being caused by gridlock at major seaports and a truck driver shortage across the country. Analysts say the forecast for the holiday season is not looking better.

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