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OH Judge halts Air Force from punishing airmen who sought religious exemption from vax mandate

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COVID Vaccine

A Judge of the Southern District of Ohio granted a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Air Force from punishing the servicemen and women who had filed for a religious exemption to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on Wednesday.

Judge Matthew W. McFarland, just two weeks before, ordered a restraining order against the Air Force from pursuing punitive measures against the airmen.

The case, Doster v. Kendall, McFarland wrote that the Air Force failed to raise any “persuasive arguments” for why the Court should not extend an existing Preliminary Injunction prohibiting the Air Force from punishing a group of plaintiffs to all airmen seeking religious exemption. He added:

[T]he Court reminds Defendants that ‘[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Thus, due to the systematic nature of what the Court views as violations of Airmen’s constitutional rights to practice their religion as they please, the Court is well within its bounds to extend the existing preliminary injunction to all Class Members.

All active-duty, active reserve, reserve, national guard, inductees, and appointees of the United States Air Force and Space Force, including but not limited to Air Force Academy Cadets, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Cadets, Members of the Air Force Reserve Command, and any Airman who has sworn or affirmed the United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office or Enlistment and is currently under command and could be deployed, who: (i) submitted a religious accommodation request to the Air Force from the Air Force COVID-19 vaccination requirement, where the request was submitted or was pending, from September 1, 2021 to the present; (ii) were confirmed as having had a sincerely held religious belief substantially burdened by the Air Force’s COVID19 vaccination requirement by or through Air Force Chaplains; and (iii) either had their requested accommodation denied or have not had action on that request.

In addition, the order said the Air Force, which includes their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and other people acting in concert or participation with them, who receive notice of this preliminary injunction, are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from:

(i) taking, furthering, or continuing any disciplinary or separation measures against the members of the Class for their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while keeping in place the current temporary exemption; such disciplinary or separation measures include, but are not limited to, ‘adverse administrative actions, non-judicial punishment, administrative demotions, administrative discharges, and courts-martial’ for the benefit of Defendants, this includes continuing any administrative separation or punitive processes or initiating the same.

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Nation

WHO declares Monkeypox global health emergency: Five deaths worldwide

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WHO Director tedros adhanom ghebreyesus

The World Health Organization (WHO) Saturday declared a global health emergency over the rapid spread of monkeypox. The designation is based on the spread of the virus, and not the total number of deaths, which amount to only five globally, according to reports.

Currently, there are more than 16,000 reported cases of the disease in 75 countries, states the WHO. Five deaths have been attributed to the exotic disease, officials with the health organization noted. So far there are 2,400 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States.

MONKEYPOX INFO FROM WHO:

  • Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox
  • Monkeypox is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
  • Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.
  • Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
  • Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
  • An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.
  • The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
  • Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.
Monkeypox was first discovered in a monkey in 1958, and according to WHO the first infection in a human was discovered in 1970 in a small child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“What’s different now is that we’re seeing cases in other countries that normally don’t have monkeypox,” the WHO website declared. “But in fact, we’ve never seen an outbreak like this before.”

WHO June 27, 2022 Meeting Conclusions: 

“The Committee noted that many aspects of the current multi-country outbreak are unusual, such as the occurrence of cases in countries where monkeypox virus circulation had not been previously documented, and the fact that the vast majority of cases is observed among men who have sex with men, of young age, not previously immunized against smallpox (knowing that vaccination against smallpox is effective in protecting against monkeypox as well). Some Members suggested that, given the low level of population immunity against pox virus infection, there is a risk of further, sustained transmission into the wider population that should not be overlooked. The Committee also stressed that monkeypox virus activity has been neglected and not well controlled for years in countries in the WHO African Region.

The Committee also noted that the response to the outbreak requires collaborative international efforts, and that such response activities have already started in a number of high-income countries experiencing outbreaks, although there has been insufficient time to have evaluated the effectiveness of these activities.”

This story is developing

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