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Moderna says its COVID vaccine is 100% effective in children 12 to 17 years old after the second dose.

USA TODAY

The Duchess of Cambridge has received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as Britain extends its inoculation program to younger residents.

The wife of Prince William formerly known as Kate Middleton, 39, received her shot at London’s Science Museum, a mass vaccination center near the couple’s home at Kensington Palace, according to a photo posted on their Twitter feed. 

Middleton got her shot Friday, a few weeks after her husband, Prince William, who contracted COVID-19 last year. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles are among other members of the royal family who received shots publicly to promote vaccinations. Britain is among world leaders in vaccinations.

“Yesterday I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at London’s Science Museum. I’m hugely grateful to everyone who is playing a part in the rollout – thank you for everything you are doing,” she wrote on  social media accounts.

Also in the news:

►The Department of Veterans Affairs lifted all restrictions on gathering sizes, as well as mask and social distancing requirements, for fully vaccinated people at national veterans cemeteries in time for Memorial Day weekend.

►Oklahoma state agencies will be barred from requiring a mask or coronavirus vaccination as a condition of being allowed to enter a state building or office under an executive order signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. 

►CVS is offering a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl, a Bermuda vacation or cash prizes to bring in more customers for COVID-19 vaccinations. Kroger is also offering customers, workers or individuals who get the shot the chance to win $1 million or free groceries for a year.

►The Missouri Supreme Court is lifting directives for the state’s courts aimed at protecting the safety of employees and the public during the coronavirus pandemic. Court officials said the restrictions were being lifted June 15 because of a decrease in the national and local levels of COVID-19 cases and the effectiveness and availability of vaccines, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported.

►The European Union’s medicines agency has approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-old children, making it the first vaccine allowed for this age group in the EU.

►Eli Lilly paused distribution of its monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 in eight states over concerns that it is not as effective against virus variants. The pause is not related to the safety of the treatment.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 594,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Over 170 million cases and 3.5 million deaths. More than 134 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 40.5% of the population.

📘 What we’re reading: COVID-19 cases spiking again at some ICE detention centers. Critics say ICE failed to vaccinate detainees.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

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Mandatory vaccines for universities comes under scrutiny

About 400 or so colleges plan to require that students who wish to learn in-person be vaccinated. But that demand could clash with Republican lawmakers. The state of Indiana recently passed a law that prohibits the use of “vaccine passports.” Indiana University argued the law doesn’t apply to the university, but the state’s attorney general disagreed. So far, the university is sticking by its vaccine requirement, even as conservative lawmakers continue to call on it to drop the mandate. This could be a recurring theme as the new school year approaches.

Chris Quintana

Can your boss require you to be vaccinated? Yep.

Businesses can require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 without violating federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws, the agency says. Businesses can also offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated or to provide documentation of vaccination “as long as the incentives are not coercive,” the EEOC said in a statement. The updated EEOC guidance indicates employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for employees who don’t get vaccinated because of a disability, religious beliefs or pregnancy. 

Julia Thompson

Nearly 60,000 Arkansas coronavirus doses near expiration

Nearly 60,000 doses of Arkansas’ allotment of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine are nearing their expiration date and would have to be discarded if not used by the end of June, according to a state health official. The Johnson & Johnson doses administered so far include 11,150 given May 1 through Friday – an average of fewer than 400 per day, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“What we have done is move them around,” to various vaccination sites, “so that the earlier expiring doses get used,” state epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “States everywhere are in a similar situation where they’re not ordering doses.” 

Vietnam says new variant is highly contagious

Vietnam has detected a new coronavirus variant that lab tests say might spread more easily than other virus variants, Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said. Scientists who examined the genetic makeup of the virus say the variant is a hybrid of strains first found in India and the UK, Long said. Long said the new variant may be responsible for a surge in cases in Vietnam as the country has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 deaths in the last few weeks. The surge has prompted nationwide bans on religious events and other large gatherings, as well as the closing of public parks and non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars, clubs and spas.

Tennessee hat shop under fire for Star of David ‘Not Vaccinated” patch

A Nashville, Tennessee, hat seller removed an Instagram post after fueling social media controversy for selling a patch that looks like the Jewish Star of David. HatWRKS, run by hatmaker Gigi Gaskins, posted a photo of a woman wearing a bright yellow star sticker with the words: “Not Vaccinated.” Social media users responded with the hashtag #HateWorks, calling the patch antisemitic and “disgusting.” The original Instagram post had thousands of comments before being taken down.

About 6 million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, when Nazis forced Jews to identify themselves by wearing a yellow six-pointed star. The business responded with an Instagram statement saying it did not mean to minimize the horrors of the holocaust.

– Sandy Mazza, Nashville Tennessean

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