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COVID-19 live updates: US to reopen Mexico, Canada borders for vaccinated

Written by on October 13, 2021

(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 716,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 66% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 12, 11:26 pm

US to lift land-border restrictions on Canada, Mexico with proof of vaccination

The U.S. is moving forward to lift restrictions for foreign travelers coming into the country over land-border crossings as long as they have proof of COVID-19 vaccination, according to multiple senior Biden administration officials.

The news follows a decision about two months ago from Canadian authorities to allow vaccinated American travelers to enter by land. It also follows the announcement last month of a vaccine requirement for foreign air travelers coming into the U.S.

Current air travel requirements also include presenting a negative COVID-19 test while land border requirements remain more restrictive for anyone deemed “nonessential.”

The first stage of the land-border changes is expected in early November, the officials said, when travelers deemed “nonessential” will be able to enter the U.S. with proof of vaccination. Nonessential travel, including recreation, family visits and tourism, was previously restricted at all land-border crossings.

All travelers, both essential and nonessential, will be required to have proof of vaccination starting in early January.

Unlike the requirements for air travel, this new set of restrictions does not have a testing component, the officials said.

Customs and Border Protection will enforce the requirements at U.S. land ports of entry where they will ask about vaccination status and refer travelers to a more thorough inspection on a case-by-case basis.

Oct 12, 6:00 pm

62% of 2020 law enforcement line of duty deaths were from COVID-19: Report

A report issued Tuesday found that 62% of all law enforcement deaths in the line of duty in 2020 were from COVID-19.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund revealed the statistics in a release, announcing its annual candlelight vigil on the National Mall.

Attorney General Merck Garland will lead Thursday’s vigil that will honor 701 law enforcement officers who recently died in the line of duty, including 434 who died in 2019 and 2020, the museum said in a statement.

Oct 12, 5:02 pm

White House to governors: Get ready to start vaccinating kids in November

In a private phone call Tuesday, the White House urged governors to prepare to begin vaccinating elementary-age kids in early November.

Once federal regulators give the green light, the pediatric Pfizer vaccine will be distributed in 100-dose packs. The doses, which are about one-third of what is given to adults, will be sent to thousands of sites, including pediatricians, family doctors, hospitals, health clinics and pharmacies enrolled in a federal program that guarantees the shots are provided for free. Some states are planning to provide the vaccine through schools, as well.

“We’ve secured plenty of supply, and we’ll be putting in place an allocation ordering and distribution system similar to what we’ve used for the other vaccines,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said on the call.

The Biden administration has purchased 65 million Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses, according to an HHS official. That number is more than enough to vaccinate all 28 million 5-to-11-year-olds.

At least 31,000 providers have enrolled to administer free vaccines already, according to the HHS official, and that number is expected to increase as the HHS and CDC continue to work with the existing federal program that funds many other routine childhood vaccinations all over the country.

While the White House said shipments of the pediatric vaccine will begin as soon as the FDA gives the green light, shots wouldn’t happen until the CDC makes its recommendation on who should get the vaccine.

The CDC is drafting guidance on the practice of “test to stay” being used by schools in lieu of quarantines, according to the White House call. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said it’s possible that the guidance is released this week.

Oct 12, 3:32 pm

What to expect at this week’s meetings on Moderna, J&J boosters

On Thursday and Friday, the FDA’s independent advisory panel is set to discuss and vote on whether to authorize Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters for people 18 and older. If approved, the FDA and CDC both still need to sign off. The earliest that could happen is Oct. 22.

An initial and nonbinding vote on the Moderna booster has been scheduled for around 4:45 p.m. ET Thursday. Moderna’s own scientific summary posted on Tuesday argues for a booster shot with a half dose given six months after the second shot.

An initial and nonbinding vote on the J&J booster has been scheduled for around 3:15 p.m. ET. Friday. Johnson & Johnson’s summary posted Tuesday makes the argument for a second shot, same as the first dose, given roughly six months after the single-shot vaccine.

On Friday, the National Institutes of Health will also present data on whether it’s safe and effective to mix-and-match booster doses.

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