The Latest: UN chief decries pandemic’s harm to the poor – Associated Press

GENEVA — An expert group advising the World Health Organization on vaccines has recommended that older people and those with compromised immune systems get an extra dose of COVID-19 vaccine as part of their regular schedule, in line with what many rich countries including Britain, France and the U.S. have already recommended for their populations.

At a press briefing on Monday, the WHO’s vaccines director, Dr. Kate O’Brien, said the group was advising that people who have weaker immune systems “should receive an additional dose” of all of the WHO-approved vaccines beyond the normally recommended two doses, to produce an immune response to protect them from severe disease, hospitalization and death.

O’Brien said this third dose should be given to people sometime between one to three months after the second dose and was not considered a booster.

She emphasized that this recommendation does not apply to healthy, younger adults who have a normal immune response to vaccination and have no underlying conditions. The WHO’s expert group recommended that people get the same vaccine they received for their original immunization where possible.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Merck asks FDA to authorize promising COVID-19 pill

— Russia’s new COVID-19 cases, deaths near all-time high

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New Zealand’s doctors and teachers must soon be vaccinated

Sydney opens to vaccinated after 100-plus days of lockdown

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See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEATTLE – Most of Washington’s health care workers have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with a week left before the state’s immunization deadline.

As of Monday morning, 88% of health care workers had showed proof of vaccination, the Washington State Hospital Association reported. The results include data from 94% of the state’s hospitals, collected after Oct. 4.

The Seattle Times reports the remaining 12% of workers include those who are partially vaccinated, have an approved exemption and accommodation, have applied or plan to apply for an exemption that hasn’t yet been reviewed, have not yet provided vaccination verification, or are choosing not to be vaccinated.

The hospital association said it believes 2% to 5% of hospital staff could leave the workforce because of the mandate.

All health care workers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face “nondisciplinary dismissal” for failure to meet job requirements, Gov. Jay Inslee announced in August. Final vaccination numbers won’t be available until early November, the hospital association said.

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WAUKESHA, Wis. — A parent has sued a southeastern Wisconsin school district after her son contracted COVID-19 from a classmate.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Shannon Jensen filed the lawsuit in federal court against the Waukesha School District and school board on Oct. 5. Jensen is seeking an injunction ordering the district to comply with U.S. Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines.

According to the lawsuit, the board in May removed a student mask requirement and other COVID-19 mitigation measures. One of Jensen’s son’s classmates came to school with symptoms in September and didn’t wear a mask. Jensen’s son was seated next to the sick student and was wearing a mask but still became infected. Jensen’s other two sons later tested positive as well.

School Board President Joseph Como declined comment on the lawsuit.

The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC is funding the lawsuit. The brewing company is owned by Kirk Bangstad, who has aired his frustrations about how former President Donald Trump’s administration responded to the pandemic. He ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Republican state Rep. Rob Swearingen last year.

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut mayor has asked for a forensic investigation into the city’s spending of federal pandemic relief money after coming across issues she says make her suspect fraud.

West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi, who is also a certified public accountant, said in a video posted on the city’s YouTube page that she came across several large expenditures that might be fraudulent. An FBI spokesperson says agents visited City Hall on Friday but would not confirm whether an investigation was underway.

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan authorities have decided to inoculate schoolchildren for COVID-19 starting next week.

According to the Health Ministry, inoculations will begin on Oct. 21 and initially, the vaccine will be given to students in the age group of 18 and 19 years. They will be given only the Pfizer vaccine.

The ministry says everyone over 20 years old has been given a first dose while 82% have received both doses.

Sri Lanka lifted a six-week lockdown on Oct. 1 after COVID-19 cases and deaths showed a rapid decline. The government still maintains strict restrictions. Public gatherings are banned and trains halted.

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