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Gov. Noem bans ‘vaccine passports’ in South Dakota

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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order on Tuesday banning ‘vaccine passports’ in the Mount Rushmore State.

“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have provided the people of South Dakota with up-to-date science, facts, and data and then trusted them to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones,” said Governor Kristi Noem in a Wednesday press release. “We’ve resisted government mandates, and our state is stronger for it.”

The Republican governor added, “I encourage all South Dakotans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but we are not going to mandate any such activity. And we are not going to restrict South Dakotans’ exercise of their freedoms with un-American policies like vaccine passports. In our state, ‘Under God, the people rule.’ And that is how we will operate for as long as I am governor.”

As noted in the order, South Dakota hasn’t imposed harsh COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic. In fact, the state didn’t close its economy and businesses and didn’t impose a mask mandate.

The recent announcement is consistent with the state’s rationale throughout the pandemic. In fact, Noem’s order notes that “a vaccine passport program could lead to unjustified, non-science-based restrictions on travel, speech, association and other civil rights…”

It also adds that “Vaccine passports could lead to the improper disclosure of private health information and the unjustified use of that private health information to restrict South Dakotans’ access to workplaces, schools, businesses, gatherings, hotels, gyms, restaurants, theaters, music venues, or eve weddings…”

A number of Republican governors across the country have also pushed back on ‘vaccine passports,’ including Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who issued a ban on Monday. Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did the same by signing bans via executive orders.

South Dakota has recorded 106,677 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,953 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the state Health Department. Further, 278,000 South Dakotans have reportedly been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

You can follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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NY Gov Hochul issues executive order: Polio ‘an official diisaster’

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New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday issued an executive order that Polio is now considered an official disaster. 

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York State Health Commissioner. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up-to-date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”

The virus that causes polio has been found in the wastewater of more than one county, according to state health officials. “A sewage sample from Nassau County collected in August tested positive for poliovirus, following the prior detection of the virus in wastewater samples in Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County and New York City, further indicating that the virus is spreading in the area to some degree” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“The Nassau County sample was also genetically linked to the single confirmed case of paralytic polio that had been identified this summer in a young adult resident in Rockland County who was unvaccinated.”

Hochul’s executive order has been issued through Oct. 9, and expands the network of providers able to administer polio vaccinations to “include emergency-medical-services workers, midwives and pharmacists.”

The new order makes providers send polio-immunization data to the New York State Department of Health in order to better help health officials “focus vaccination efforts on areas of low uptake.”

New York state health officials have sent out alerts to providers, have hung fliers “in houses of worship, grocery stores and summer camps and talked with community leaders about boosting vaccination rates this summer.”

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

The poliovirus spreads mostly when a person touches their mouth after coming in contact with an infected person’s feces. Most infected people don’t develop any symptoms but can still spread the virus, a major concern for health officials, and around a quarter develop flulike symptoms. Those who are vaccinated are at low risk, health officials have said, as getting three doses of the polio vaccine administered in the U.S. is at least 99% effective at preventing paralytic disease.

Health officials, however, also said that certain New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated but at high-risk should receive a single lifetime booster. That applies to individuals who will or might have close contact with a suspected or confirmed polio patient, as well as healthcare workers in those areas who might handle poliovirus samples or treat patients who might have polio…

Two forms of the virus can cause paralysis, one of them being the wild poliovirus found in nature. The case in New York, on the other hand, is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus, a mutated form of a strain used in an oral polio vaccine…

The oral polio vaccine, used in many parts of the world outside of the U.S., relies on a weakened, live form of the virus that recently inoculated children shed in their feces. In places with lower vaccine uptake, the weakened virus can sometimes circulate and mutate to become more like the wild virus and potentially paralyze people who are not fully vaccinated.

 

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