Thursday marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi Germany.
Days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, intended to honor the six million Jews and other victims of the Holocaust, anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said it was easier to live in Hitler’s Germany than the world today with the mandates of COVID-19.
“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” he said Sunday at an anti-vaccine rally in Washington, DC. “Today the mechanisms are being put in place so that none of us can run. And none of us can hide.
Jewish defense and Holocaust awareness organizations were quick to condemn Kennedy’s words.
The Auschwitz Memorial called its comparisons “sad symptom of moral and intellectual decadence.” Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, said his comments are “deeply inaccurate, deeply offensive, and deeply troubling.”
“Those who carelessly invoke Anne Frank, the star badge and the Nuremberg trials exploit the history and consequences of hate”, the United States Holocaust Museum wrote.
Kennedy’s comparisons of COVID-19 mandates to Nazi Germany are just one of many made by vaccine advocates in the past two years.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazis forced Jews to wear a gold star,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted last year. FOX News Anchor Tucker Carlson compared the vaccine requirements to medical experiments conducted by Nazi Germany last week.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jewish advocacy and Holocaust awareness organizations are pushing back against vaccine advocates who compare COVID mandates to the Holocaust.
“In the midst of a global pandemic with mandatory debate on vaccines and masks, anti-vaccines in Kansas show up at town hall meetings wearing yellow stars, equating themselves with Holocaust victims. I was forced to wear a yellow star to be marked for dehumanization and death,” Rabbi Arthur Schneier said during the United Nations Virtual International Holocaust Remembrance Service. “For someone to wear a yellow star after 1945, it’s not ignorance, it’s a sign of vicious hatred.”
Also in the news:
►People who had slight changes in their menstrual cycle after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine only experienced those changes for a short period of time, as a new study “assures” that there is little risk in fertile people who are inoculated.
►Singer-songwriter Elton John tested positive for COVID-19, canceling two shows in Dallas, Texas on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The shows were originally 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 in early February. If approved by parliament, Denmark would be the first country in the European Union to fully lift internal restrictions.
📈Today’s Numbers: The United States has recorded more than 72 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 875,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: more than 361 million cases and more than 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 are reading: Many people with disabilities have not yet returned to airports to protect themselves from the coronavirus that could feel like a flu attack or take their lives.
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Moderna begins next phase of COVID booster injection targeting omicron
Moderna announced Wednesday that the first participant received the dose in the company’s phase 2 study of a COVID-19 booster vaccine specific to the omicron candidate.
Booster Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccines have been shown to be highly effective in preventing omicron-related hospitalizations, according to CDC data: booster doses were 90% effective in keeping people out of the hospital after becoming infected with the omicron variant.
Moderna expressed reassurance about the persistence of the presence of antibodies for its currently authorized booster, but explained that the levels decreased six months after the booster dose was administered.
“However, given the long-term threat demonstrated by Omicron’s immune escape, we are advancing our Omicron-specific variant vaccine booster candidate and are pleased to begin this part of our Phase 2 study,” Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Modern, said.
The Moderna study will include two cohorts: participants who previously received both doses of the Moderna vaccine with the second dose at least six months ago, and participants who received the initial two doses and a Moderna booster at least three months ago.
The biotech company intends to enroll around 300 participants from each of these cohorts for the study.
— Cady Stanton, USA TODAY