Posts tagged with "Vaccination"

miami beach pride flyer for use by 360 magazine

Miami Beach Pride

Queer Entertainment Line-Up and COVID-19 Prevention Protocols

Pride returns in September with eight days of event programming, celebrity entertainment and preventive measures to ensure the safety of all attendees, vendors and volunteers

Miami Beach Pride is happy to announce its legendary pride celebration will return on September 10-19, 2021 with a hotly anticipated Festival and Parade happening on the weekend of the 18-19 boasting a star-studded roster of almost 100% LGBTQ+ talent. World-class entertainers such as Walk The Moon, Carson Kressley, Tracy Young, Nitty Scott, and Ralphi Rosario are slated to headline the pop and latin stages this year as well as host other ticketed events during the week-long celebration. The Miami Beach Pride theme and mantra is ONE LOVE, inspired by Bob Marley’s iconic song encouraging us to demonstrate love to ourselves and others, and is also the perfect tribute to the tropical surroundings that only Miami Beach can provide.

“We believe that love has the power to unify us. By reinforcing solidarity and acceptance within our community and with our allies, we can truly begin to create more inclusive spaces that are representative of our amazing LGBTQ community. ” said Rich Walczak, Executive Director, Miami Beach Pride. “The foundation on which this week is built is the concept of self-acceptance and authenticity and why we want everyone to feel like they belong at our celebration this year.”

Miami Beach Pride, working in tandem with local leaders, announced its new COVID-19 protocols and prevention measures for a safe and exciting festival. The organization has been examining the various factors that can lead to disease spread and seeking to mitigate with a host of safety protocols including a campaign encouraging attendees to Stop The Spread and Register For Pride. Updates to the flow of the festival will follow CDC guidelines to include social distancing, sanitizer stations & distribution, frequent disinfection, increased VIP tent sizes and online registration. Free masks will also be available on-site.

Miami Beach Pride’s online registration portal is now available and ALL pride-goers are strongly encouraged to register. Registration enables the organization to communicate any changes more effectively in local, state and federal COVID19 safety guidelines and increases the accuracy of their contact tracing program. Please note: MBP Festival and Parade is FREE and open to the public.

To further support the health of the community, The Independent Medical Group will also be onsite to distribute thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations completely free of charge. Vaccination facilities will be clearly marked on the festival grounds and open to all attendees.

Weekend VIP packages and tickets to Sweet Spot feat. ULTRA NATE , SOAK Pool Party and Legends Ball are now officially for sale on our website. For more information on events related to Pride as well as the latest programming, please visit miamibeachpride.com and follow us on Instagram.

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Two Stetson University Students Receive Free Tuition

Safer Stetson Awards help boost COVID-19 vaccination rates on campus

Vaccinated Stetson University students Marcus Boyd and Joshua Sanchez will be receiving free tuition for a year, thanks to the Safer Stetson Awards

Boyd and Sanchez provided Stetson with their COVID-19 vaccination information through an anonymous voluntary system and were given a shot at winning a complimentary college education during the Safer Stetson Awards over the summer. They won the grand prize during a Facebook Live drawing on Friday, July 30. 

Boyd is an incoming first-year political science student who was speechless when his name was selected to receive free tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

“I was in disbelief and needed to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming,” said Boyd on a video conference call. “Doing my part in the fight against COVID-19 was reason enough to get the vaccine.” 

“I was surprised and grateful when I found out that I won free tuition for a year,” said Sanchez, who is a music education senior at the Stetson University School of Music. “I spent three years struggling to pay my college tuition. The news of me receiving free tuition during my last year of college provided me with relief and took a lot of weight off my shoulders.” 

The university created the Safer Stetson Awards program as a step toward ensuring a healthy and safe campus environment for the fall semester by encouraging COVID-19 vaccination. 

“Nearly 1,500 vaccinated students participated in the Safer Stetson Awards,” said Ray Nault, EdD, vice president of Enrollment Management. “We saw a tremendous interest and community coalescing around this important cause since the program launched.” 

The university has set a goal for at least 70% of faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated by the fall semester when it begins on Thursday, Aug. 19. Currently, 53% of Stetson’s overall population, employees, and students are vaccinated at both the DeLand and Gulfport campuses. The vaccination progress can be tracked on the Safer Stetson website

“I recommend others to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Sanchez. “I got the vaccine so I could protect my mom and grandmother.” 

“I play the French horn and miss performing in front of an audience during Stetson University School of Music concerts,” added Sanchez. “The university may allow more campus activities to occur after students get vaccinated.” 

New and returning Stetson students had an opportunity to participate in the weekly Safer Stetson Award drawings from June 11 to July 30 after they provided their COVID-19 vaccination information. Names were randomly selected from a pool of vaccinated students. Winners received $1,000 or a free annual campus parking pass.

In the final drawing that was announced on Friday, July 30, two students were selected as runners-up for the tuition awards. Stetson University students Hollie Bitor, an education junior, and Sarah Gaudreault, an aquatic and marine biology senior, each received a $1,000 scholarship and two tickets to a theme park of their choice in Orlando. 

About Stetson University

Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private university in Central Florida. Stetson focuses on intense learning experiences in a supportive community that allows students to develop their voice in a connected, inclusive environment. Stetson University ranks No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 list of Best Regional Universities (South) and has been recognized as one of The Princeton Review’s 386 Best Colleges, 2021 edition. Stay connected with Stetson on social media.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

LOLLAPALOOZA × DELTA VARIANT

By: Clara Guthrie

Public health experts are warning that the crowded Lollapalooza music festival in downtown Chicago this past weekend may lead to a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases, especially given the increasing risk of the Delta variant. Festival organizers estimate 100,000 people attended the event each of the four days, and neither social distancing nor mask wearing (for vaccinated attendees) was enforced.

Despite concerns from medical professionals and a steady rise in Delta variant cases leading up the festival, both the Chicago Department of Public Health and Lollapalooza’s health experts approved the production of the festival as planned ahead of time.

Although operating at full capacity, the festival did have certain security measures in place in order to protect its guests; to enter, people had to show either their Covid-19 vaccination card or proof of a negative Covid-19 test from the preceding 72 hours. According to the festival’s website, they also required those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask.

In a statement released Monday by festival organizers, it was revealed that 91% of the attendees showed proof of vaccination, and 8% showed negative Covid-19 tests. The last 1% were denied entry due to a lack of proper documentation.

These statistics are complicated, however, by a claim from a Chicago Tribune photo intern, Vashon Jordan Jr., that fake vaccination cards were being used at the event. On August 1st, he tweeted, “Fake Covid-19 vaccination cards are 100% a thing at Lollapalooza in Chicago. You can get it with a single-day wristband for $50. I have confirmed that it does work.” In a separate tweet he clarified, “And by ‘fake’ I mean it doesn’t belong to the holder.” Jordan Jr. also recorded maskless concert goers dancing in large crowds and boarding public transportation—where masks are explicitly required—after the day’s events.

According to Dr. Tina Tan, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who specializes in infectious diseases, the precautions taken by Lollapalooza were simply insufficient given the prevalence of the Delta variant. Tan said that a safer event would have maintained smaller crowds, enforced social distancing and masks, and only allowed vaccinated individuals to attend. “When you have 100,000 or more people who are in a fairly enclosed space and there’s no social distancing, the vast majority are not wearing masks, you are going to get some transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant,” she said.

As of August 2nd, Chicago was reporting an average of 206 new cases each day, and many of those who are being hospitalized for Covid-19 are not vaccinated. These data reflect a recent and definite uptick in cases as the Delta variant poses a serious threat across the globe. Given the roughly two to 14 day incubation period for Covid-19, it is currently unclear just how Lollapalooza will affect these numbers in Chicago and its surrounding areas. According to Dr. Robert Citronberg, an infectious disease physician with Advocate Aurora Health, “The next couple of days you could potentially see cases. I think by next weekend we’re probably going to be having a good idea about how much transmission occurred because of Lollapalooza.”

What experts already know with certainty is that any transmission from Lollapalooza will not only affect Chicago and its suburbs but also the areas that people return home to after the festival, seeing as thousands of people travelled to Chicago just for the weekend. “The real problem is not so much that a bunch of young people who come into Chicago getting COVID at this event. The real problem is them taking it back to places that have very low vaccination rates,” Dr. Emily Landon, executive director for infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago Medical Center, said.

According to the New York Times, roughly 70% of American adults have received at least one shot: a goal that President Biden set for the country to hit by July 4th but that took almost an extra month to achieve. And many individual states are struggling to vaccinate their population and thus are grappling with new Covid-19 cases and Covid-related hospitalizations. Alabama and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates in the country, at 43.2% and 44% respectively. Illinois falls somewhere in the middle with 59% of its adults being fully vaccinated.

Lollapalooza’s controversy did not stop at Covid-19 concerns. On Sunday, the final day of performances, rapper DaBaby was pulled from his headlining spot after festival organizer caught wind of his previous homophobic comments. While performing at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami on July 25, DaBaby made discriminatory and incorrect comments about gay men and HIV, which he later defended in a series of 19 videos on his Instagram stories. “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show,” he said. “It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. […] Me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

Lollapalooza officials tweeted to announce DaBaby’s removal, saying, “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Fellow rappers Young Thug and G Herbo took his place. On Monday, DaBaby took to Instagram to apologize “for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important.”

Looking beyond the festival’s drama, Rolling Stone took a moment to celebrate the most positive and powerful moments from Lollapalooza, saying, “it was full of life-affirming musical moments.”

Photo via the Chamber Group for use by 360 Magazine

HIP HOP IN NYC CONCERTS

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) Executive Director and President Rocky Bucano today announced with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie the dynamic lineup of Hip Hop, Latin freestyle, dance, freestyle, techno, and funk artists set to perform at the “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” concerts to be held at outdoor venues in The Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.

As a celebration of New York City’s comeback during NYC Homecoming Week, between August 14th to 22nd, all tickets for “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” concerts—produced by New York City, the Universal Hip Hop Museum, and IDEKO—will be available for free.

“You don’t want to miss the local, legendary talent performing throughout NYC Homecoming Week,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As we celebrate this Summer of New York City, we’re proud to partner with Rocky Bucano and the Universal Hip Hop Museum to bring these momentous concerts to our boroughs, free of charge. And if you get a ticket, you can go as long you have proof of your first dose of an approved COVID vaccine.”

“Hip Hop comes home to celebrate NYC Homecoming Week!” said Rocky Bucano, Executive Director and President of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. “Many of the artists performing in these shows are native New Yorkers hailing from the five boroughs. It’s their talent, creativity, and passion for the culture that spread it from the stoops, parks, and playgrounds to stages worldwide. The Universal Hip Hop Museum is proud to welcome them home, back to where it all began.”

“I’m excited to see this marquee event for NYC’s homecoming kick off in The Bronx. The Birthplace of Hip Hop will set the tone for the upcoming “It’s Time for Hip Hop NYC” concerts around New York City. This will be a show you do not want to miss,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“NYC Homecoming Week will allow for New Yorkers to celebrate our resiliency during an unprecedented time. As we work towards defeating COVID-19, what way to better come together than with a borough-wide initiative that will bring our small businesses to the forefront which has been so crucial to keeping our communities going through the toughest of times,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie. “Having the Universal Hip Hop museum’s participation in this celebration will bring NYC joy. Music has a way of unifying people of all backgrounds and giving soul to our great city. Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Universal Hip Hop Museum Executive Director and President Rocky Bucano for the “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” concert series. These free events will allow for NYC dwellers to have safe summertime fun as well as a small return to normalcy.”

“At Citywide Events we work with partners across the five boroughs and beyond to ensure that events in our City are both safe and enjoyable for all,” said Citywide Events Executive Director Dan Gross. “We’re honored to produce the “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” free concerts as part of our NYC Homecoming Week celebration that will exemplify the resiliency, strength, and creativity of our city.”

“IDEKO is thrilled to be a part of NYC Homecoming Week and reopening this great City that we all call home,” said Evan Korn, CEO of IDEKO. “We are excited to partner with Mayor de Blasio, Rocky Bucano, and the Universal Hip Hop Museum to produce four great nights of concerts in the boroughs. New York City is Back!”

All attendees must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” concerts. Reasonable accommodation will be provided for persons unable to get vaccinated because of a disability.

Free tickets for all four concerts will be released to the public in batches at nyc.gov/HomecomingWeek starting on Monday, August 2 at 10 a.m. EDT. Additional free ticket release dates and times are as follows:

  • Tuesday, August 3 at 7 a.m. EDT

  • Wednesday, August 4 at 9 p.m. EDT

  • Thursday, August 5 at 7 a.m. EDT

  • Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. EDT

  • Saturday, August 7 at 9 p.m. EDT

New York City, UHHM, and IDEKO have teamed with Behind The Rhyme, a channel on Twitch devoted to Hip Hop and its culture, to Livestream the events in The Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. The broadcast, produced by Fortress Entertainment and Fuzzy Bunny Films, will feature live performances as well as backstage content and interviews hosted by veteran journalist Shaheem Reid. From August 16th to 17th and August 19th to 20th, fans can watch, chat and share custom emotes HERE.

As part of the “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” experience and emphasizing the historical connection between Hip Hop and graffiti art, Thrive Collective—a nonprofit that creates hope and opportunity through arts, sports, and mentoring in and around public schools—will be curating a roster of standout New York City street artists that will create live, temporary art installations during the concerts.

“We’re thrilled to be working in the city that I love and with the NYC Mayor’s Office to showcase the “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC” event to the world,” says Ann Carli, Executive Producer of live streaming partner Behind The Rhyme. “Our channel has found a kindred spirit in the Universal Hip Hop Museum, an organization dedicated to the preservation of Hip Hop music and culture, which were born and raised on the streets of New York City.”

“Hip Hop embodies the creative spirit of resilient New Yorkers. Emcees provide the voice; graffiti writers, the name; breakers, the movement; and DJs, the community. Knowledge inspires us to never, ever give up,” said Jeremy Del Rio, Executive Director of Thrive Collective. “Thrive Collective proudly celebrates that heritage and our City’s continuing resilience, and we look forward to bringing live art to these concerts during NYC Homecoming Week.”

In addition to “It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC,” NYC Homecoming Week, a citywide celebration of New York City’s resilience, will also include from August 14th through August 22nd:

  • “WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert produced by New York City, Clive Davis, and Live Nation” on Saturday, August 21 at 5 p.m. EDT

  • Free movie screenings by Rooftop Films;

  • Cultural activities and public art; and

  • Iconic events including NYC Restaurant Week and Summer Streets.

This celebration of New York City’s resilience will drive support for the mom-and-pop businesses and local organizations that define our neighborhoods and that kept the heart of our city beating throughout the COVID pandemic. Visit nyc.gov/HomecomingWeek for more information.

Bettoja Hotels image provided by Katherine Han and Bettoja Hotels for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Hotel Mediterraneo Announces Reopening

Boasting nearly 150 years of Italian hospitality in Rome, Bettoja Hotels just announced the reopening of the iconic Hotel Mediterraneo featuring recent renovations and stylish new additions.

After a year of being closed during the pandemic, 4-star Hotel Mediterraneo has reopened its doors this months. Celebrating the inauguration of the reopening, the hotel now features a beautiful, renovated panoramic rooftop terrace with breathtaking city views of the Eternal City. Soaring 50 meters high, the hotel’s Roof Garden Restaurant and Terrace also welcomes a new addition with its Ligea Lounge Bar. With an elegant vintage atmosphere, the new lounge bar serves as a prime meeting point for guests and non-guests from around the world to gather in its eclectic indoor and outdoor areas.

Precious 1940’s lamps and restored Art Deco interior design pieces designed by Mario Loreti and Gustavo Pulitzer Finali furnish the Ligea Lounge Bar on the tenth floor of the Hotel Mediterraneo, creating a new location to be discovered during the magical days and evenings of one of the best cities in the world. The lounge is adorned with velvet sofas, mirrors and fine vintage pieces with exotic plants that create an exclusive green nest in which to take refuge, all with a spectacular 180 ° view of the capital.

Chef Antonio Vitale completes the gastronomic offer of the new Ligea Lounge Bar with and fresh snacks, with menus that will follow the seasons. A robust list of cocktails and wines offering fine labels will accompain the evening and dinner menus daily from 5pm until midnight. Guests can also experience this space by choosing to reserve it completely for private events, gala dinners or standing cocktails.

The Bettoja flagship property, Hotel Mediterraneo, was designed in 1938 by the architect Loreti, and has recently been restored following a careful collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, featuring the participation of master artisans and the most meticulous of Italian restorers. The timeline of restorations began in 2018 and recently concluded with the restoration of the Mosaic Room featuring the “Medieval Hunt” by Franco d’Urso, a beautiful mosaic based on a sketch by the painter Achille Capizzano. These restorations have brought the historical heritage of the Hotel Mediterraneo to the forefront, highlighting the charm of its monumental architectural feats and the value of its artistic elements. As part of the restoration of the hotel, the rooms feature carefully restored and preserved period furniture.

Thanks to the deep love and dedication for hospitality, the Bettoja family has always kept the hotels open through the two World Wars and the pandemic and remains a true point of reference in Rome.

D'Angleterre via Geoffrey Weill and Associates

Hotel D’Angleterre Opens to Americans

“Copenhagen Is open to Americans!” said a thrilled Lucas Johannson, General Manager of the city’s grande dame Hotel d’Angleterre, this morning on a phone call to New York. Johansson’s message confirmed the Danish government’s decision to open Denmark to American travelers who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks against Covid-19.

For the city’s 266-year-old d’Angleterre, the opportunity to welcome back its traditional number-one source of guests is a major event. Set in the heart of Copenhagen, overlooking King’s Square, and home to the Michelin-starred Marchal Restaurant, the d’Angleterre is not merely the hotel’s most prestigious hotel, but a city landmark, with beautiful views of the city of Copenhagen.

“Welcome to your Danish home!” added Johansson, “we can’t wait to spoil you with our warmth, elegance and deliciousness.”

About Hotel D’Angleterre

Located on Copenhagen’s Kongens Nytorv (The King’s Square), Hotel d’Angleterre has long been the city’s address of choice for royalty, statesmen and the illustrious. The d’Angleterre has had an extremely colorful history, from its origins as a restaurant opened in 1755 by Jean Marchal, to its transformation into the d’Angleterre in 1795, to the opening of the current building in 1875 and its rebuilding just before World War I. The hotel reopened in May 2013, revealing the results of a two-year remodeling and re-imagining: a lighter and more elegant color palette; 90 spacious rooms & suites (created from the existing 123 rooms) plus several amenities including restaurant Marchal helmed by Jakob de Neergaard, Amazing Space Scandinavian spa, and Balthazar, Denmark’s first Champagne bar.

Covid by Mina Tocalini

5 Covid Safe Travel Tips

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced an update to their guidelines, sharing that those who are fully vaccinated are at a “low risk” of infection when traveling abroad or domestically. However, the CDC warns that states and territories may continue to enforce their own COVID-19 travel restrictions.

According to a recent Airbnb report, 54% of people have already booked their next trip, are planning to travel, or expect to travel in 2021, signaling the importance of staying healthy & safe flying.

Dr. Elizabeth Mullans shares 5 tips to travel safely:

  • Wear a face mask. The CDC’s Emergency Order mandates face masks be worn on all public conveyances. While breathable, comfortable, reusable masks are important for virus protection, wearing them for long periods of time may cause skin irritation and acne. This may trigger skin sensitivities, so make sure to wash face masks with a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free laundry detergent like, Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin, Free & Clear.
  • Keep the Immune System Strong. Make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet and get adequate sleep (even if it means snoozing on the plane). Airlines have stepped up cleaning and social distancing measures on planes to maximize air flow volume for all passengers through HEPA filtration systems, however, the low humidity levels inside of an airplane cabin can oftentimes cause onset of a cold. Keep a cold shortening product that contains Zinc on-hand, like Zicam, and take an immune supplement to proactively support overall health while traveling. A great option is vitafusion Triple Immune Power because of its great-tasting gummy form.
  • Organize important documents. Whether traveling internationally or domestically, always keep vaccination cards, COVID-19 test results, driver’s licenses, hotel confirmation print outs, and passports in a secure place like in a DocSafe Document Bag. For those vaccinated, laminate the vaccination card to avoid water damage.
  • Use an alcohol-free, long lasting hand sanitizer. Disinfect & Shield Hand Sanitizer is available as a moisture-infused foam or spray that leaves an invisible, “breathable” barrier on the skin. It not only destroys 99.99% of bacteria but is also eco-friendly, making it ultra-safe for use around pets and plants while protecting the treated surface for up to a full eight hours. Unlike most hand sanitizers, Disinfect & Shield is alcohol-free and eliminates the harsh fumes and cracked, dry skin that accompanies alcohol-based sanitizers. Plus, it’s safe for use on PPE and masks.
  • Adhere to CDC guidelines. Although many are not required to stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7-days after traveling, it is important to follow all state and local recommendations as they can vary state to state.

Remember to be mindful, plan out a trip well in advance, and be aware of the COVID-19 policies and guidelines set by the destination you’re visiting. Remember, a negative COVID-19 test before your trip does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. Symptoms might not show for up to two weeks, so remain cautious.

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

An Interview with Vax Force

By: Matthew Anthenelli

VAX Force is a team of all-black women from Springfield, Massachusetts who are bringing vaccine awareness and accessibility to their community. Beginning earlier this spring, the COVID-19 vaccination began its rollout to non-essential workers all across the globe. Whether it be from misinformation or lack of access, many people both in the United States and worldwide have not yet been vaccinated. Studies show that many marginalized communities are lacking access to vaccination sites and other resources. There’s also a concerning percentage of the population that are receiving and spreading misinformation about the science behind the vaccine.

VAX Force is a group of amazing and inspiring black women from Springfield, Massachusetts who have taken these matters into their own hands. We were lucky enough to be able to ask VAX Force a few questions about their mission in their community. Read what they had to say below.

The initiative to spread vaccine awareness amidst an age of misinformation is such a dire and important action to take. What inspired you to form the Vax Force and take matters in your own hands?  

Springfield, MA is the largest city in Western Mass and the third largest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts yet much of the attention and resources were being given to Boston and the Eastern part of the state so Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno took action and formed this committee so that the members could serve as direct resources for the citizens in Springfield, especially those living in vulnerable communities.  

Who are the members of the Vax force? How did you come together for this amazing and inspiring cause? 

There are wonderful leaders in public health, medicine, faith, research and diversity that are a part of Commissioner Caulton-Harris’s network .  The Mayor and the Commissioner extended invitations to join Springfield Vax Force to select individuals and they were excited to volunteer and lend their expertise, and in some cases roll their sleeves up and join our community outreach efforts.  

What groups or communities are being neglected from vaccine access the most? 

When we formed Springfield Vax Force Latinx, African-American, Caribbean, African, Vietnamese and immigrant communities did not have convenient access to the vaccine.  The vaccine was being distributed in suburban areas.  Fortunately, through the great work of Springfield Vax Force we now have access to the vaccine in all of the neighborhoods in the city.  Vaccine clinics are accessible within 1.5 miles of any neighborhood in Springfield.  

Why do you think misinformation is being spread about the vaccine? Anti-vax rhetoric was popular in the early 2000s, why do you think it returned ? 

There are anti-vaxxers using the digital platforms to spread misinformation and there are algorithms in place that widely circulate this disinformation wrapped in what looks like reputable sources, so folks are often seduced into sharing that information as if its factual – and it spreads like wildfire.  Aside from that, there is mistrust in the medical community by marginalized groups, and when those concerns that are often valid are not addressed, it provides an opportunity for anti-vaxxers to attach falsehoods to legitimate claims.  

How do you suggest that the average reader can convince loved ones or friends who may fear the side effects of the vaccine or the vaccine itself? 

The beautiful thing about social media is that is rich with narratives penned by people who have been vaccinated that are very open about their experiences and even those who have experienced the worst side effects were absolutely fine within 24 hours.  We also are over a year in and as time passes the studies become more longitudinal, so there is now evidence that supports the safety of the vaccine.  

You are making PSAs in order to inform and educate the youth on the significance of the vaccine. Do you think that the younger generation is the largest demographic of people spreading anti-vaccine misinformation or that the problem has more prevalence in older generations ? 

Older generations very quickly analyze risk versus reward when it comes to getting vaccinated and for them COVID-19 poses a far greater risk than the vaccine, and they were able to see that in real time with the death rate being more prominent in older individuals.  Additionally, older individuals have been around long enough to see the positive effects of vaccines throughout the decades and the eradication of viruses like measles, chicken pox, rubella and polio.  Individuals 45 and under are often the group spreading anti-vaccine misinformation.   

A big part of the Vax Force’s initiative had to do with the Faith and Science vaccination clinic. Do you think misinformation surrounding vaccinations is more prevalent in religious communities? 

Our research has shown that it is not. In fact, in our community, the faith leaders have been outstanding in sharing safety messages related to the COVID-19 vaccines.  

How can the average person who is already vaccinated help aid your cause? 

It’s important that we continue to be diligent with safety protocol. Being vaccinated does not mean that you are 100% protected against spreading COVID-19 or testing positive.  Although mandates are being removed, safety practices are still an individual’s right so we urge vaccinated people to remain cautious.  It also helps when vaccinated people share how seamless the process is from check in to receiving the shot, to observation.  

Where can people find out more about Vax Force and their mission? 

All the information you could possibly need can be found at the City of Springfield website

The Faith and Science event was a major success. What do you have planned next in Vax Force’s future? 

We are now targeting the young people in the City of Springfield ages 16-25. We have a young men’s and women’s basketball tournament coming up called Shot for Shot where young people who attend the tournament, receive promotional gifts and most importantly get vaccinated on site.  

The all-black VAX Force Team of Springfield, Massachusetts
Nicole Salazar Breaking News Illustration

Weekly News Roundup: Week of May 10

Biden’s Spending Plan for Education

President Biden is planning to enact higher taxes on the wealthy to go towards free preschool, two years of free community college for young adults, and national paid leave. The 1.8 trillion spending and tax plan is aimed to expand education, while increasing the US’ social safety net, supporting women in the workplace, and decreasing the cost of child care. The New York Times recognized Biden’s tax plan as “ the biggest expansion in federal support for higher education in at least half a century.”

Increasing Vaccination Numbers in the EU

The pace of people being administered the COVID vaccine in the European Union is steadily rising. Just last week, nearly three million doses of the vaccine were being administered daily according to Our World in Data, a University of Oxford database. The EU is primarily utilizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The New York Times reports that in a rate adjusted for population, the amount of people being administered the vaccine daily in the EU is now roughly equivalent to the US. Usula von der Leyen, the European Commision president, announced her goal of vaccination 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of the summer. Due to an early shipment of doses from Pfizer last month, and the company’s partnership with BioNTech, it is predicted that this goal will be reached.

DarkSide Ransomware Attack

On Monday, President Biden announced that the United States will “disrupt and prosecute” the criminal gang of hackers, DarkSide. The hackers have been the culprit of a huge ransomware attach that effected the flow of gasoline and jet fuel supplies to the country’s East Coast. Federal investigators believe that the attackers aimed at uncovering corporate data and back-office operations, rather than taking control of the pipelines. After taking note of the ransomware attack that which locked Colonial Pipelines–up a major pipeline in Texas that transported gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Texas’ Gulf Coast to New York Harbor– the F.B.I. sent out an emergency alert to other pipeline operators and electric utility and gas suppliers. Colonial Pipelines has remained closed since the attack and hopes to restore operations by the end of this week. The city governments of Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Washington D.C. Police Department have also been victim to DarkSide’s attacks.

Violent Clash Between Palestinian Protesters and Israeli Police in Jerusalem

Recent escalations between Palestinians and Israeli Jews regarding control over a single neighborhood in Jerusalem has exploded into major conflict. Israeli efforts to eradicate Palestinians from parts of the city have incited upset between the two groups. While Israeli Jews attempt to ensure Jewish landownership and control over East Jerusalem, Palestinians argue that their attempts are illegal and a form of ethnic cleansing. On Monday, right-wing Israeli protestors and the police erupted into military conflict with Palestinian protesters. As a result of a raid on the Israeli police on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Gaza militants retaliated with rocket fire. Countering, Israeli airstrikes were fired back. Due to the violent conflict, at least twenty Palestinians have been killed, including nine children.

Offshore Wind Plan to Create Thousands of Jobs

On Monday, the Biden Administration announced their plan to use offshore wind power along the East Coast. Through utilization of off-shore wind turbines in coastal waters nationwide, the plan is aiming to deliver 30,000 megawatts of wind power to power 10,000 homes by 2030, reports the New York Times. To start, the eco-conscious project will begin in the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It is predicted that offshore wind deployment projects will create 44,000 new jobs in the offshore window sector and 33,000 other new, indirect job positions. According to the American Clean Power Association, “States along the East Coast are driving demand for offshore wind. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia have established targets to procure a total of 25,400 MW of offshore wind by at least 2035 and have selected over 6,000 MW of projects as of February 2020 to help meet these goals.”

CDC Announces Vaccinated People Rarely Need Masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear mask in most situations. Whereas it is still encouraged for vaccinated people to wear a mask inside to contribute to the culture of mask wearing, they are at virtually no risk of disease and minuscule risk of transmitting the virus to others. The New York Times talked to Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are ‘essentially 100 percent effective against serious disease.’”

Furthermore, it has been announced that there have been few, if any, instances of COVID-19 transmission occurring from brief outdoor interactions. The risk of exposure from outdoor contact is too small to lead to infection.  However, unvaccinated people are still advised to wear masks when in close conversation with people both outdoors and indoors, when not at home.

However, with the child population of Americans unvaccinated, it raises questions about how families will be able to return to normalcy. While children under 16 haven’t been eligible to receive the vaccination, their demographic poses a low risk to fatal coronavirus cases. For children, it is believed that COVID-19 presents no greater risk than the average flu season. As America looks towards the rest of 2021, it can be hoped that a return to normalcy will soon come. To read the current CDC COVID-19 guidelines, you may visit this website.

Vaccine illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Small Businesses Sign Vaccine Plan

­­SURVEY OF SMALL EMPLOYERS; 400+ SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND NATIONAL ADVOCATES LAUNCH INITIATIVE ON VACCINE LEADERSHIP TO GET U.S. ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK 

New National Survey of More than 3,300 Small Business Owners: Survey of small employers found that 64 percent of business owners say it is very important that their employees get vaccinated

Over 400 Small Business Owners and Leaders — Sign pledge to commit to becoming a small business vaccine leader 

Small employers want employees to get vaccinated and are willing to help to make it happen. The majority (63 percent) of small businesses are willing to encourage and incentivize employees to get vaccinated.

 Reimagine Main Street (RMS), a project of Public Private Strategies (PPS), has launched a public awareness campaign that will support small business owners in being leaders on the Covid-19 vaccines with their employees and in their community. The campaign was announced during a webinar that also included findings from a survey of more than 3,300 small employers on their perspectives on the vaccines conducted by Reimagine Main Street, in partnership with the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE), the US Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). The survey results provide insights into how small business owners view the vaccines and their plans for themselves and their workers. 

Other business organizations including the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NLGCC), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) are stepping up to engage their members. 

“Small businesses like mine have struggled during this pandemic, but the vaccine shows us that the end is in sight,” said Shaundell Newsome, Founder of Sumnu Marketing and Chairman of the Board of the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, who moderated the webinar. “I have implemented a vaccine plan for my employees and all business owners should do the same so we can make it through Covid-19 as quickly as possible.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 70-85% of Americans need to receive the vaccine to achieve herd immunity. Once that happens, small businesses will be able to get back to business at full capacity and the economy and communities can completely reopen.

“The survey findings demonstrate that small business owners recognize the importance of the vaccines in reopening Main Street,” said PPS Founder and Principal Rhett Buttle. “By championing the vaccine with the employees and in their communities, small employers can help fully reopen the economy as quickly as possible.”

NEW SURVEY: 

The survey of more than 3,300 small employers shows strong support for ensuring workers get vaccinated. View the full survey. Key findings include: 

  • 63% of small employers intend to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. 
  • Nearly half (45%) of small employers’ plan to give workers paid time off (PTO) to get vaccinated.
     
  • More than 80% of small employers report having conversations with employees about vaccines and a majority (55%) say they would use free or low-cost resources to provide guidance and information about Covid-19 vaccines.

PLEDGE FROM SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: 

The campaign also calls on employers to sign a pledge to be a SMALL BUSINESS VACCINE LEADER, which more than 400 small business owners have already signed. In signing it, small business owners are pledging to do at least one of the following things:

  • Commit to getting the vaccine when it is their turn and let their employees know why they are choosing to get the vaccine
  • Create a vaccine plan for their employees
  • Provide incentives to employees who receive the vaccine, such as PTO to receive the vaccine
  • Continue to follow state and federal guidance on social distancing and wearing masks after all employees are vaccinated
  • Assist with vaccine promotion and distribution in their community (examples include volunteering to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites, donating supplies or services to vaccination sites, and being vocal in their community on the business case for getting vaccinated)

NEW TIP SHEETS: 

Reimagine Main Street is also giving small business owners the resources they need to play a critical role in championing the vaccine with their employees and in their communities. In addition to general tools and resources, the campaign includes tip sheets in multiple languages for small business specifically targeted to demographics, including:

QUOTES FROM BUSINESS OWNERS AND LEADERS: 

Ron Busby, Sr., President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

“When our country faces a crisis, the most vulnerable are hit the hardest, especially in the Black community. This was the case with Covid-19, but business owners can help put us on the path to recovery by embracing the vaccine.”

Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

“It is going to take years for the Hispanic small business community to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but the vaccine can get us started down that path. Business owners can help speed the recovery by championing the vaccine with their employees and community.”

Justin G. Nelson, Co-Founder and President, NGLCC

“COVID-19 has forced business owners in the LGBTQ community to look out for each other as we try to make it through this pandemic. Small business owners should protect themselves, their employees, and their communities by championing the vaccine.”

Cindy Ramos-Davidson, CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

“Hispanic businesses have closed at a disproportionate rate because of Covid-19 and the path to recovery begins with the vaccine. If small business owners champion the Covid-19 vaccines, businesses and communities will be able to fully reopen much faster.” 

Chiling Tong President/CEO of the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on Asian American and Pacific Islander businesses both financially and through the rise in anti-Asian violence. It is critical that we get through this pandemic as quickly as possible, and the vaccine is key to doing so.”

Mas Torito, owner of Kokoro Restaurant in Denver

“My family restaurant has been in business for over 30 years and this past one was the toughest we have ever weathered. To come back stronger than ever, we have championed the vaccine, but it is critical that more small businesses do so as well.”

Ginger Torres, co-founder of PPE for Navajo First Responders in Phoenix

“Hesitancy to take the Covid-19 vaccine is prevalent among many Native Americans, but small business owners can play a huge role in changing that. I urge all small business owners to be leaders on the vaccine with their employees and in their communities.”

Patty Gentry Young, co-owner of Young Hair Inc., Spring Field, Ohio

“We all take steps to be proactive about our health and getting the Covid-19 vaccine should be one of them. Small business owners can play an important role in encouraging their employees and others in their community to get the vaccine.”