Schools received threatening letters from ant-vaxxers warning teachers they would face ‘Nuremberg-style trials’

A protester with a model Covid 19 vaccine syringe is detained by police officers at a demonstration against a COVID-19 vaccine education event in London, United Kingdom on November 24, 2020
A protester with a model Covid 19 vaccine syringe is detained by police officers at a demonstration against a COVID-19 vaccine education event in London, United Kingdom on November 24, 2020.

  • The UK will soon offer COVID-19 vaccinations to 12 to 15-year-olds in schools.
  • Anti-vaxxers have been writing threatening letters to teachers in warning of “Nuremberg-style trials.”
  • A report found that 79% of schools in England have received emails threatening legal action.

Teachers in London have been receiving threatening letters from anti-vaxxers warning of “Nuremberg-style trials” for those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination program, reports say.

Under the new vaccine program, children between the ages of 12 and 15 will be offered one dose of the Pfizer vaccine at school.

Although teachers are not involved in offering children vaccines, they have borne the brunt of anti-vaxx fury.

A recent survey by the Association of School and College Leaders found that 79% of schools in England have received emails threatening legal action, and 13% have had protesters outside the school.

The headteacher of a prestigious London school told The Evening Standard that they had recently received an 18-page letter which said the British public would demand “Nuremberg-style trials” for those involved in the vaccine program.

The letter, also sent to other schools, falsely compared the vaccine program to a war crime.

Campaigners fear that the threats could lead to school staff quitting their roles.

The news came after Health Secretary Sajid Javid last week criticized anti-vaxx protesters who have been targeting children outside school gates.

Reports have emerged of an anti-vaxx protester accosting an autistic student outside a school in Derbyshire and telling him the vaccine would make him infertile, Schools Week reported.

In a separate incident, students were reportedly shown graphic images of dead and dismembered children.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told the outlet that he was “increasingly concerned” about anti-vaxx protesters.

He called for “prompt support from the police as necessary.”

The vaccination program for 12-15-year-olds involves first sending consent forms to parents.

However, critics claim that parents who do not want their children to be vaccinated could be overruled because of the “Gillick competence,” The Guardian reported.

The legal ruling says a young person can elect to have medical treatment without parental consent if they are deemed to have sufficient “intelligence, competence, and understanding.”

The Department of Education confirmed that they would make every effort to gain consent from a parent but said that a parent “cannot overrule the decision of a Gillick competent child.”

In September, the UK’s vaccine advisory body said that healthy children should not be offered the vaccine, being at such a low risk from the virus.

However, the UK’s four chief medical officers ultimately decided to recommend vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in schools amid rising cases around the country.

On Thursday, Britain reported over 52,000 new COVID-19 cases​​- the highest daily amount since July.

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Over 500,000 healthcare workers quit in August and thousands more have gone on strike as the industry deals with burnout and staff shortages

Nursing home workers protest in Brooklyn, according to the Healthcare Workers Union.
NYC nursing home workers protest lack of PPE, hazard pay, and respect from employers on May 21, 2020. Home care workers may also work in long-term residential care facilities.

  • Many healthcare workers are burnt out and going on strike to demand better working conditions.
  • There have been at least 35 healthcare worker strikes so far this year, one tracker found.
  • Meanwhile, more than half a million healthcare workers quit their jobs in August.

Over 500,000 healthcare workers quit in August, the most recent month figures are available for, and more than two dozen strikes amongst healthcare workers have taken place since the start of the year, according to reports.

A tracker from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations found there have been 35 strikes in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry as of Friday.

Over the past four months, thousands of workers at more than two dozen hospitals in California have gone on strike. Earlier this month, close to 31,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente voted to authorize a strike over wages.

Nurses at one hospital in Massachusetts have been on strike since March, Masslive reported.

The strikes are occurring during a time of increased demand for patient care and a shortage of workers. In addition to the Delta variant, the US is also facing a rise in chronically ill patients who delayed care during the pandemic, Politico reported.

Healthcare workers told Politico that while they know walking out may garner “scorn” from some, they wanted to use the attention they’ve recieved throughout the pandemic to demand better conditions.

“We’re drowning here,” Mike Pineda, a senior transport technician at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, California, told Politico. “The wear and tear on everyone got to the point where people became frustrated.”

Jamie Lucas, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, told the outlet that the reasons to strike have always been there but that some healthcare workers, like many other industries demanding better conditions across the country, are realizing they have some leverage.

Throughout the pandemic, healthcare workers have said they’re burnt out. In May, Nikki Motta, a travel nurse who spent a year working with COVID-19 patients in understaffed hospitals across the East Coast told Insider she was experiencing hair loss from the stress.

Liz Evans, another travel nurse, told Insider she was taking care of six patients at a time when in normal times, she might have two at most.

A March 2021 Trusted Health online survey of over 1,000 travel nurses found that almost half said they were considering leaving the profession. Seven months, later a ShiftMed survey found 49% of US nurses said they may leave the profession within the next two years. More than 90% of respondents in the ShiftMed survey said staffing shortages were negatively impacting them.

Some of the other factors that have pushed healthcare professionals to consider leaving include the pandemic, low wages, and an increase in workload.

“I really started looking away from bedside over the last year, because the weight was really heavy of what I was doing, and I didn’t feel like I was doing the job that I initially signed up for, which is to help people and make people feel better,” Motta told Insider in May. “I feel like there are even more and more expectations for nurses, and nurses are the type of people who want to help and who want to do what is asked of them, but I think that is being taken advantage of in a lot of ways.”

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All the differences between COVID-19 vaccines, summarized in a simple table

A group of teenagers serving as 'Covid-19 Student Ambassadors' joined Governor Gretchen Whitmer to receive a dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine at Ford Field during an event to promote and encourage Michigan residents to go and get their vaccines on April 6, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.
A teenager serving as a ‘Covid-19 Student Ambassadors’ gets a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Ford Field during an event to promote and encourage Michigan residents to go and get their vaccines on April 6, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.

  • COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca all have unique features.
  • They vary in effectiveness, side effects, dosage, and ages approved for the shots.
  • Here is a table that compares them all. Scroll down to view it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Coronavirus vaccines are the world’s escape route out of a pandemic.

Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford University, and Johnson & Johnson have been approved in the UK. In the US, all of them have been authorized except AstraZeneca’s.

Each is given as a shot in the muscle of the upper arm.

For the two-dose vaccines – which is all of them except J&J – you should have two shots of the same one, where possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday October 22 that everyone in the US who gets J&J’s single-dose vaccine should get a second at least two months after the first.

Some fully vaccinated people vulnerable to COVID-19 are eligible for a third vaccine dose, known as a booster. In the US, this can be any vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Speak with your doctor if you have a specific medical condition, or take medicines – especially if they thin your blood or affect your immune system. Experts have said the COVID-19 vaccines won’t make you infertile. Side effects may start within a day or two and should go away within a few days.

We’ve made a table that gives you the key information for each shot. Scroll down to view it.

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What’s in store for the future of big healthcare bets


Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and this week in healthcare news:

If you’re new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at or tweet @leah_rosenbaum. Let’s get to it…

Karen DeSalvo Google Health
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google’s chief health officer.

At the HLTH 2021 conference, execs spoke about the future of healthcare

This week, we sent almost all of our healthcare team out to Boston for the 2021 HLTH conference.

Our reporters met with dozens of executives to find out what the next big trends in healthcare will be.

We’ll have more coverage of HLTH in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, we want to know, what did you take away from the conference? Reply to Blake Dodge’s tweet asking that here.

Read more>>

Google’s health chief lays out the company’s next steps after shying away from a full healthcare business

Japanese man receiving moderna vaccine
An employee (R) of Japan’s Suntory Holdings receives the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for Covid-19 .

FDA and CDC OK booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines

In an exciting announcement on Wednesday, the FDA authorized booster shots for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to people at high risk for severe disease and older adults. People in these categories can get booster shots 6 months after their second Moderna shot.

At the same time, the FDA authorized a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who got a single dose of the vaccine at least 2 months ago. Andrew and I covered the big news.

On Thursday, the CDC agreed with the FDA and booster shots became official US policy.

Up next: an expert FDA panel is set on Tuesday to review the evidence around the use of Pfizer’s vaccine in kids 5-11. Ahead of that recommendation, Pfizer released new results on Friday that show the vaccine is 91% effective in that age group.

Here’s what you need to know>>

The FDA just authorized booster shots of Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines and is letting users mix and match shots

woman in scrubs prepares covid-19 vaccine, with patient and doctor chatting in background
Chanei Henry, senior research coordinator of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine.

Mix & match becomes mainstream

Researchers have been talking for months about the potential benefit to “mixing-and-matching” COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

On Wednesday, the FDA announced that the agency now authorizes people to do it. These “heterologous” vaccines can sometimes produce a stronger immune response, research has found.

Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce and Hilary Brueck discuss how they work.

Dive in>>

How ‘mix and match’ COVID-19 booster shots work, and why we’re using them

More stories that kept us busy this week:


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How ‘mix and match’ COVID-19 booster shots work, and why we’re using them

woman in scrubs prepares covid-19 vaccine, with patient and doctor chatting in background
Chanei Henry, senior research coordinator of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, prepares a COVID-19 booster shot during a mix-and-match trial.

  • Fully vaccinated Americans will soon be offered extra doses of different COVID-19 vaccines.
  • This is known as a “mix and match” booster shot strategy.
  • Here’s what we know about the benefits of mix and match booster shots so far.

Americans will soon be able to get so-called “mix and match” boosters – an extra COVID-19 shot that’s different to the vaccine they originally received.

On Wednesday evening, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized mix-and-match booster shots for people in the US who originally got Johnson & Johnson’s single dose vaccine, and for older adults and vulnerable people who had Moderna’s vaccine.

Pending a final green light from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eligible Americans vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines will soon be able to get a shot of any FDA-authorized vaccine booster after six months. People who got J&J’s vaccine will be able to have one after two months.

This followed an influential US trial that suggested boosting with different vaccines was safe and effective.

Before, only immunocompromised patients, as well as vulnerable populations and older adults who’d had Pfizer vaccines, were eligible for boosters.

Mix-and-match boosters haven’t been extensively tested in the real world – but there are lots of reasons why they’re a good idea, experts say.

The reasons for the decision

In theory, different vaccines can stimulate the immune system in different ways, so giving people mix-and-match booster shots could produce a better immune response than an extra dose of the same vaccine.

“You’ll reach a part of the immune system not reached as well by the initial vaccine,” Dr. Robert Atmar, one of the principal investigators of the ongoing mix-and-match booster trial at Baylor College of Medicine, told Insider of the idea.

Some vaccines may be better at producing an antibody response, for example, while others might be better at stimulating white-blood cells called T cells and B cells to protect us.

But this was “really a theoretical potential benefit” that’s largely been seen “in the test tube,” he said.

The main reason the US is allowing mixing and matching is, for now, practical rather than scientific. It’s “really a public health question, in terms of ease of administration and distribution,” Atmar said.

Some vaccines are simply more readily available than others – not every pharmacy or doctor’s office carries all three vaccine brands.

Mix and match will help if one manufacturer has a problem, Pedro Piedra, professor of molecular virology, microbiology, and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told National Geographic.

The data on mix-and-match booster shots

In the UK, adults over 50 or at risk of severe COVID-19 have been able to get a mix-and-match booster since September 14. This decision was mostly based on early data from an ongoing UK-based trial, COV-Boost, which is not publicly available.

The National Institute for Health Research, which funded the study, said at the time that the trial showed mixed booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines given to fully vaccinated people provided a “substantial increase in vaccine-induced immune responses.”

The preference is for Brits to get Pfizer, regardless of what vaccine they had before, but a half-dose of Moderna is also available.

The US published its first landmark booster trial on October 13, which showed giving people who’d received J&J’s one-shot vaccine a separate dose of any FDA-approved vaccine boosted their antibodies, without any serious side effects.

In the trial, a second dose of J&J’s shot boosted people’s antibodies four fold, while switching to a shot of Pfizer or Moderna boosted antibodies 35 and 75 fold, respectively. This could suggest mixing and matching provided more protection – but antibodies aren’t a perfect measure of overall immune protection.

“The study really was not designed” for direct comparisons, Atmar said. Regardless of what a person received originally, getting one of the three booster shots “led to good antibody responses,” he said.

Real-world results aren’t yet known

But it’s unclear what the true effect of mixing and matching will be because real-world data is scarce.

Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told National Geographic that every combination should be specifically studied for safety and immune response. Even vaccines that use the same technology aren’t identical, which could affect how a mix and match booster dose works, he said.

For example, Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines both use a genetic code to teach the body to make part of the virus to trigger an immune response, but they vary in multiple ways including dose, dosing interval, and the genetic sequence they use.

Atmar agrees you’d test all combinations “in a perfect world,” but that it wasn’t “feasible” in the US to, for example, study “boosters in persons who had gotten AstraZeneca, or who had gotten the Chinese vaccine, or the Sputnik vaccine.”

Mix-and-match alone can’t end pandemic

At the least, mixing and matching gives us options. In places where the same brand of booster isn’t available, people can just take what’s on offer.

But no matter how effective they are, the extra protection won’t be enough to end the pandemic, vaccine experts say.

“The effect of a booster is much less than the effect of vaccinating unvaccinated individuals – and that means both here and abroad,” Dr. Eric Rubin, who sits on the independent vaccine advisory committee to the FDA, said last week.

“If we’re going to get out of this thing, we have to be vaccinating the unvaccinated,” he said.

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Vladimir Putin orders one-week paid shutdown for Russian workers as COVID-19 cases and deaths rise

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the State Council's meeting at Grand Kremlin Palace on December 26, 2019 in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a one-week shutdown for workers as the country grapples with rising COVID-19 cases and deaths.

  • Vladimir Putin ordered a paid, weeklong shutdown as Russia faces rising COVID-19 cases and deaths.
  • Russia hit a daily record with 34,073 new cases and 1,028 deaths on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
  • Only about a third of Russian citizens are fully vaccinated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a one-week paid shutdown for Russian workers as COVID-19 cases and deaths rise.

In a record-breaking week, the country reported 1,028 deaths on October 20 along with 34,073 new cases, Reuters reported. About 47.5 million Russians have been fully vaccinated, which amounts to only a third of the country’s population, Insider’s Marianne Guenot reported.

Putin approved a week of paid “non-working days” from October 30 to November 7, adding that the dates can be extended in areas that need it as “the epidemiological situation is developing differently in each region,” according to Reuters.

“Our main task now is to protect the lives of citizens and, as far as possible, minimize the spread of Covid-19 infections,” Putin said according to the state-run outlet RT News.

Russia’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 226,353 people, The Moscow Times reported.

Earlier in the week, Moscow’s mayor ordered all of the city’s unvaccinated residents over 60 years old and those who are unvaccinated and “suffering from chronic diseases” to stay home until February 2022, CNN reported.

Russian epidemiologist Vasily Vlassov told CNN that Russian “hospitals are overwhelmed.”

“This is still very high morbidity and mortality,” Vlassov, a former World Health Organization adviser, told the outlet. “High morbidity in Russia is seen as a sign of failure of the state and society.”

COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe disease and death, and while Russia has four of its own vaccine options, the country is struggling to get citizens to overcome skepticism and take the shot. Studies have suggested that the flagship Russian Sputnik V vaccines have similar effectiveness to those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

“There are only two options at this point in time – you can get sick or you can get vaccinated. But it’s better to be vaccinated,” Putin said per RT News. “Why would you wait for the disease and its consequences?”

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Blood tests that can detect cancer are about to hit the market. But experts are still waiting to see if they can upend deadly disease.

Blood sample
A scientist drips blood into a test tube.

  • Two companies – Exact Sciences and Illumina – plan to have blood tests that detect cancer available by 2022.
  • They have spent a combined $10.1 billion in M&A in the hopes of diagnosing cancer earlier.
  • Experts say these tests still need to establish they can detect cancer and extend people’s lives.
  • This article is part of a series called “Future of Healthcare,” which explores how technology is driving innovation in the development of healthcare.

Scarcely a day goes by when Kevin Conroy, the chief executive of cancer test manufacturer Exact Sciences, doesn’t talk about colon cancer.

But last month, it hit closer to home when Conroy’s brother-in-law died of the disease. By the time the cancer was apparent, the treatment options were limited.

Getting Americans to get routine screenings like colonoscopies has helped cut down deaths from colon cancer in the last couple of decades. The Cologuard test that Exact Sciences launched in 2014 has served as a next step, helping improve screening rates for Americans by four percentage points, according to Exact.

But only 38% of colon cancer cases are caught when the cancer is in its earliest, less deadly stages, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Two companies – Conroy’s Exact Sciences and genetic sequencing giant Illumina – are hoping to make it easier to detect colon and around 50 other types of cancer, months or even years before doctors would see signs of the disease.

The former head of Illumina’s blood testing business, Hans Bishop, had previously said these tests could help end deadly cancers.

Exact and Illumina spent a combined $10.1 billion over the last year acquiring the two startups developing tests that seek out microscopic signs of cancer in a person’s blood.

Both blood tests will be available in the US next year. But the two firms behind the tests are still tweaking and testing their diagnostics, and experts say they need to prove that the tests can catch early cases of cancer and reduce death rates.

Both tests need to improve their rates of identifying cancer

Illumina and Exact’s tests are part of a wave of “liquid biopsies” informing cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Companies like Guardant Health and Foundation Medicine have launched tests that pull together genetic information found in the blood to help physicians decide which cancer treatments to use. Now, biotechs are looking to introduce blood tests that could diagnose cancer.

Providence Cancer Center Institute in Oregon is one of the first medical centers in the country to begin using the Illumina’s test, known as Galleri. It looks for signs of a biological process called methylation, which indicates whether cancer genes have been turned on.

Testing has shown that the Galleri test has a 51.9% rate of locating cancers at any stage of development.

Early forms of Exact’s CancerSEEK test, meanwhile, focused on finding traces of cancer DNA in the blood.

A 2016 trial of CancerSEEK found that it had a 27.1% rate of identifying any early stage cancer. Exact is currently in the process of adding a methylation component and machine learning tools, which Conroy expects will improve the test’s performance.

So, neither test is foolproof. Providence Cancer Center pathologist Dr. Carlo Bifulco said that both need to get better able to pick up on early signs of cancer and locate where it is in the body.

Even if these tests can catch cancer earlier, we don’t have strong data that starting treatment earlier allows people to live to older ages, Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s researcher Dr. H. Gilbert Welch wrote in an August op-ed in STAT. One theory he cites is that many cancers are thought to reflect the fact that the body’s cells and immune system aren’t working properly, making that person more susceptible to dying of any disease.

But Bifulco said these liquid biopsies could change his job dramatically. Evidence has shown that patient outcomes depend on how advanced their cancer is. And if you can catch cancer earlier, you might be able to avoid using chemotherapy, which can kill cancer cells but also cause nausea, fatigue, hair loss and potentially permanent damage to the heart and nerves in the hands and feet.

It could take more than a decade before these tests are available at your doctor’s office

All evidence indicates that Exact and Illumina’s tests won’t immediately be embraced by the healthcare system.

Cologuard is the perfect example of that. The test has been on the market for six years and has a 90% rate of correctly identifying cancer, but is currently used by just 5% of the adults who could be routinely screened for colon cancer, according to an Exact Sciences investor call. Colonoscopies still account for the lion’s share of screening.

The Cologuard test is currently recommended for people over the age of 45. Getting 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds and 40-year-olds to start routinely checking for cancer – and for the healthcare system to pay for that – will require strong evidence that it improves survival, according to experts. Purchasing a Galleri test each year for every American over 50 alone could cost $100 billion, Welch wrote in the op-ed.

It can take upwards of 15 years for insurers, medical standard-bearers and everyday doctors to embrace new ways of screening for cancer, Conroy noted. They want to see that it works, and results in people living longer and healthier lives, before upending the system.

“There will be a tipping point, like there frequently is for new technologies,” he said. “The data is going to power a new motivation to screen.”

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Fox News host Neil Cavuto tests positive for COVID-19 and credits vaccine with saving his life

Fox News host Neil Cavuto on set.
Host Neil Cavuto.

  • Neil Cavuto has been with Fox News since its launch in 1996.
  • He has battled multiple sclerosis, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Fox News requires employees to be vaccinated or undergo daily testing for COVID-19.

Fox News host Neil Cavuto said Tuesday being vaccinated had saved his life, a statement that came alongside the announcement he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“While I’m somewhat stunned by this news, doctors tell me I’m lucky as well,” Cavuto, who has been with the network for 25 years, said in a statement released by his employer. “Had I not been vaccinated, and with all my medical issues, this would be a far more dire situation.”

Fox News requires all employees who work on-site to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo daily testing.

Cavuto is a cancer survivor who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He said his example should inspire others to get vaccinated.

“I’m surviving this because I did,” he said. “I hope anyone and everyone gets that message loud and clear. Get vaccinated, for yourself and everyone around you.”

Despite regularly airing attacks on vaccine mandates, with prime-time hosts pushing false claims about the vaccines themselves, more than 90% of Fox employees were vaccinated by mid-September, according to a company memo. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott has defended the anti-vaccination rhetoric of hosts such as Tucker Carlson others, saying that she celebrates “diverse thought.”

The Biden administration has praised the company’s own policy on preventing the spread of COVID-19, however, and expressed hope that others will follow its example.

“We are glad they have stepped up to protect their workforce and strengthen the economy,” a White House spokesperson told CNN last month, “and we encourage them convey to their audience that these types of practices will protect their employees, their communities, and the economy.”

Have a news tip? Email this reporter:

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Supreme Court refuses to stop vaccine mandates for health workers in Maine


The US Supreme Court declined to hear an emergency appeal against a vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine, rejecting the challenge to the vaccine requirement.

It’s the first time the US high court weighed in on a statewide vaccine mandate, only previously rejecting challenges to vaccine mandates for New York City teachers and Indiana University staff and students.

The state will begin enforcing the mandate on Oct. 29.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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Half of nurses said they’re thinking of quitting the profession within 2 years in a survey. Higher pay and better staffing could convince them to stay.

nurses covid-19 surge
Healthcare staff say they’re feeling burned out and emotionally exhausted after working during the pandemic.

  • Half of nurses said in a survey they were considering leaving the profession.
  • More than 90% said a shortage of nurses had made their job worse.
  • Many said that better pay could convince them to stay.

About half of US nurses said they may leave the profession within the next two years in a new survey.

In the survey of 250 nurses by ShiftMed, an on-demand staffing platform that connects nurses to healthcare facilities, 20% said they were either extremely or very likely to leave the profession within two years.

In total, 49% said that they were at least somewhat likely to leave. ShiftMed ran the poll between September 16 and 28.

Healthcare staff say they’re feeling burned out and emotionally exhausted after working during the pandemic, often in difficult working environments. Nurses say they’ve seen more physical and verbal abuse from agitated patients, Insider’s Allana Akhtar reported.

Some hospitals are having to limit how many patients they treat because of understaffing. The CEO of TaraVista Behavioral Health Center in Massachusetts told Bloomberg earlier in October that nearly a quarter of its beds were empty because of the labor shortage.

Ninety-one percent of the respondents to ShiftMed’s survey said they’d been negatively affected by the nurse shortage.

Just over half, or 52%, said they’d had to work more hours or longer shifts, while 45% said they’ve been given larger patient loads than was feasible. A similar proportion said that the shortage had affected their mental health and that they were worried patients weren’t getting the right care.

Of the nurses who told ShiftMed they may quit, 38% said they would switch to non-patient-facing roles in healthcare, while 31% said they’d leave the industry altogether. Around one in eight of the group said they’d go to college or a technical school so they could retrain for a different industry.

When these nurses were asked what would convince them to stay in the field, 59% said higher pay. The next most common reasons were better staffing levels so that patient care improved, more paid time-off, and a more cooperative work environment.

Some nurses said better shifts, a more flexible schedule, and fewer working hours could convince them to stay, too.

Just over 20 million Americans worked in the healthcare and social-assistance industry in September, per preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is around 728,000 fewer workers than in February 2020.

Some state and healthcare officials have warned that COVID-19 vaccine mandates could exacerbate staffing shortages. Houston Methodist Hospital, which mandated the shot for its staff, said in June that 153 workers quit or were fired over the policy, while Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider, said earlier this month that it had fired 1,400 employees who refused to get vaccinated.

ShiftMed’s survey shows that vaccine mandates remain divisive among nurses. Twenty-three percent of nurses said they’d be more likely to stay if their employer introduced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, while 19% said they’d be more likely to stay if their employer scrapped their vaccine mandate.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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