Council approves financing of vaccines with less money, drama | New

Here are the latest developments regarding the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic:

The New Hampshire Executive Council on Wednesday approved the use of federal funds to boost COVID-19 vaccination efforts in a vote that involved far less drama – and money – than previous demands.

Two weeks ago, the Republican-led council that approves state contracts turned down $ 27 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fearing that the language in the grants would force the state to follow guidelines and guidelines. federal warrants related to COVID-19. More than 100 opponents of the vaccination mandate filled the room and nine were arrested for interrupting the meeting.

But protesters were absent on Wednesday when the council voted unanimously to use $ 4.7 million of U.S. federal funding for the bailout to help community health centers and regional public health networks set up school and community vaccination clinics.

“This will be an additional resource that is needed,” Republican Councilor Joe Kenney said.

But Cinde Warmington, the only Democrat on the board, noted that using ARPA funds instead of CDC money diverts money that could have been used for other programs. Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette agreed.

“The problem is, the language of the CDC grant will likely appear in other future grants and are we going to continue to reject these funds and do we have to fill with ARPA funds?” ” she said. “Because if we do that, we are talking about tens of millions of dollars that we are withdrawing from our very flexible ARPA funds to fill the money that should have been received from the CDC.”

The legislative tax committee approved the $ 4.7 million last week. But actual contracts with health centers will still have to come back to the board for approval, and that won’t happen until children between the ages of 5 and 11 become eligible for vaccines, Shibinette said.

“When you have all the reminders online at the same time and 125,000 children aged 5 to 11 become eligible, the possibility of getting an appointment is going to be delayed because we don’t have all the suppliers on board because of the delay in this money, ”she said.

At a press conference later Wednesday, Shibinette said the length of those delays would depend on parental demand for the vaccine. The state has ordered 15,000 doses for children that will be sent to 200 providers – hospitals, pediatricians and pharmacies – as soon as the CDC releases its recommendations, Sununu said.

“The possibility for parents to be vaccinated for children is not long at all, not at all,” he said. “Maybe having the clinic in the school and this ease of access could be delayed for a few weeks, but it’s not like we don’t provide vaccines.”

The language Republicans opposed has appeared in other contracts they approved, and Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General John Formella have said it does not in any way interfere with state sovereignty.

Pending vaccination sites for children aged 5 to 11: The state of New Hampshire has pre-ordered approximately 15,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 as approval for this group of age passes through federal channels.

If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decides to recommend the injections next week, state officials said Wednesday that the injections could be given as early as the end of this week. The state claims to have 125,000 children in the 5-11 age group.

Schools are encouraged to set up vaccination clinics for children, but in the meantime the state is providing a map of 200 vaccination sites for children aged 5 to 11 at pharmacies, primary care physicians, hospitals and emergency care clinics.

Cities Issue Temporary Mask Warrants: Two communities in northern New Hampshire have issued temporary mask warrants as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Coos County.

The Berlin City Council and the Gorham Board of Directors met on Monday evening. In Berlin, the city council has reinstated an indoor mask warrant for at least 30 days, WMUR-TV reported. In Gorham, the board has decided on an indoor mask tenure for two weeks, with the intention of reviewing it at the next meeting on November 8.

Coos County health officials have requested the warrants. The test-positivity rate in the county is 14.8%, among the highest in New England.

“If you are in a car accident or have a heart attack or have other medical needs, the capacity of the health care system is really weakened at this point, so we really need to take all measures. possible to preserve this capacity for all of us, ”said Ken Gordon, CEO of Coos County Family Health Services.

Berlin Fire Chief James Watkins said the masks could help bring the virus under control.

“Frankly, a lot of people don’t want to, including myself. I don’t want either, ”he said. “However, I try to help everyone.”

VermontThe Vermont Agency of Education is extending a recommendation until January that schools require students to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Education Secretary Daniel French said on Tuesday that the goal of expanding the program was to allow time for younger students to get vaccinated, if, as expected, vaccines are approved within weeks. come for children aged 5 to 11. The measure would also keep COVID- current. 19 mitigation measures in place during the holidays.

The underlying proposal would allow schools to lift a mask warrant once 80% of a school’s students have been vaccinated.

“This vaccination effort will not only keep our children safe, but also, I think, will be a game-changer when it comes to the operation of our elementary schools in particular and the management of cases in the younger classes,” said French at the weekly virus briefing.

Although the mask requirements are voluntary, the French and other state officials said all schools in the state except one follow the guidelines for school masks.

On Tuesday, officials also announced directions for school sports during the winter season.

Among the state’s recommendations is that all participants be vaccinated against COVID-19, but this is not mandatory.

Gov. Scott won’t reimpose state of emergency: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said on Tuesday he would not reimpose a state of emergency that would allow him to reinstate a mask mandate on the statewide, as the delta variant has resulted in an increase in COVID -19 cases.

Speaking at the weekly briefing on the state’s response to the pandemic, Scott said he did not want to abuse the state of emergency power he has as governor.

“There is a time and place for the state of emergency and I can assure you that is not the case,” Scott said. “And I believe we’re going to overcome that with all the measures, all the mitigation measures that we’ve put in place, doing all the right things and taking some responsibility. If I thought the state of emergency would be helpful in this case, I would impose it.

Scott said he was also more optimistic about the future of the pandemic than he had been in weeks: Booster shots have been approved for most people over 18 who have already been vaccinated, the federal government is expected to authorize vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 in the coming weeks, and the number of COVID-19 cases is starting to decline across the country and in Vermont.

Statistics released Tuesday show the number of cases in Vermont fell 15% last week and 7% in the past two weeks.

“We’re going to be fine,” he said.

On Monday, a group of lawmakers, school nurses and other medical professionals urged Scott to restore the state of emergency and the indoor mask mandate. They said school staff, parents, hospitals and healthcare workers are under stress to deal with the pandemic, some to the point of breaking down.

Scott and other administration officials said the current spike in COVID-19 cases during the outbreak of cases caused by the delta variant of the virus could also be due, at least in part, to the early success of the virus. ‘State to vaccinate people.

He said the effectiveness of the vaccines has been shown to decrease over time, which is why it is important for those who are eligible to receive the booster shots. This is after at least six months for those who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or after at least two months for those who have received Johnson & Johnson.

About 80% of eligible Vermonters have been fully vaccinated against the virus and nearly 90% have at least started the vaccination process. Administration officials have encouraged the 57,000 Vermonters who are eligible for the vaccine and who have not received the vaccine to do so.

But Scott said the demand for vaccine boosters was not as great as it was when the vaccines were first rolled out earlier this year.

“As you’ve heard us say, we’re very liberal and broad in our interpretation of eligibility,” Scott said. “We want as many people as possible to receive their recall because it offers you the most protection. This is especially true if you are over 65.

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