Thursday marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz concentration camp.
Days prior to Holocaust Remembrance Day, intended to honor the six million Jewish and other victims of the Holocaust, anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said it was easier to live in Hitler’s Germany than today’s world with COVID-19 mandates.
“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did, ”he said at a Washington, DC anti-vaccine rally Sunday. “Today, the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run. And none of us can hide. ”
Jewish advocacy and Holocaust awareness organizations jumped to condemn Kennedy’s words.
The Auschwitz Memorial called his comparisons a “sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay. ” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said his comments are “deeply inaccurate, deeply offensive and deeply troubling. ”
“Those who carelessly invoke Anne Frank, the badge star, and the Nuremberg Trials exploit history and the consequences of hate, ”The US Holocaust Museum wrote.
Kennedy’s comparisons of COVID-19 mandates to Nazi Germany are only one of many made by anti-vaccine advocates over the last two years.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted last year. Acesparks News host Tucker Carlson compared vaccine requirements to medical experiments done by Nazi Germany last week.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jewish advocacy and Holocaust awareness organizations are pushing back against anti-vaccine advocates who compare COVID mandates to the Holocaust.
“In the middle of a world pandemic with vaccine and mask mandated debate, anti-vaxxers in Kansas show up at municipal meetings wearing yellow stars, equating themselves with victims of the Holocaust. I was forced to wear a yellow star to be marked for dehumanization and death, ”Rabbi Arthur Schneier said during the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Virtual Service.“ For anyone to wear a yellow star after 1945, is not ignorance, it is a sign of vicious hatred. “
Also in the news:
►People who had slight changes in their menstrual cycle after getting the COVID-19 vaccine only experienced those changes for a brief time period, as a new study “reassures” there is little risk in fertile individuals getting inoculated.
►Singer-songwriter Elton John has tested positive for COVID-19, canceling two shows in Dallas, Texas on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The shows originally were scheduled for June 2020, but were postponed during the first wave of the pandemic.
►The Danish government announced its plans to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of February. If approved by parliament, Denmark would be the first country in the European Union to fully lift domestic restrictions.
📈Today’s numbers: The US has recorded more than 72 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 875,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 361 million cases and over 5.6 million deaths. More than 210 million Americans – 63.5% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we’re reading: Many people with disabilities have yet to return to airports, protecting themselves from the coronavirus that could either feel like a rough bout of flu or take their lives.
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Moderna begins the next phase of omicron-targeted COVID booster shot
Moderna announced Wednesday that the first participant has been dosed in the company’s phase 2 study of a COVID-19 booster shot specific to the omicron candidate.
Booster shots of Moderna and as well as that of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have proven highly effective at preventing omicron-related hospitalizations, according to data from the CDC: booster doses were 90% effective at keeping people out of the hospital after they had become infected with the omicron variant.
Moderna voiced reassurance in the persistence of antibody presence for its currently authorized booster, but explained levels declined six months after the booster dose was administered.
“Nonetheless, given the long-term threat demonstrated by Omicron’s immune escape, we are advancing our Omicron-specific variant vaccine booster candidate and we are pleased to begin this part of our Phase 2 study,” Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said.
Moderna’s study will include two cohorts: participants who previously received both doses of the Moderna vaccine with the second dose being at least six months ago, and participants who have received the two initial doses as well as a Moderna booster at least three months ago.
The biotechnology company intends to enroll around 300 participants from each of these cohorts for the study.
– Cady Stanton,