Category Archives: Covid-19

Why is the US Government prioritising obesity patients for Covid-19 vaccinations?

Patty Nece hasn’t been inside a retail store for an entire year.

Even though most Virginia businesses reopened by July and grocery stores remained opened throughout the pandemic, the 62-year-old hasn’t dared to step inside one since last March, as her obesity puts her at risk for severe COVID-19.

Because of her disease, she’s eligible to get the vaccine and has an appointment for her first dose on Wednesday. While she’s looking forward to getting vaccinated, she’s also disappointed some Americans have criticized people with obesity who are prioritized to get the vaccine.

“It displays a misunderstanding … weight isn’t always within your control,” said Nece, who is also the chairwoman of the Obesity Action Coalition. “Like many diseases, there’s personal responsibility involved but that’s not the end. The mantra of eat less and move more – which I’ve heard my entire life – isn’t the answer.”

In one instance, a news anchor for WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., sent a tweet criticizing health officials for prioritizing obesity patients for the vaccine.

“I’m annoyed obese people of all ages get priority vaccine access before all essential workers,” Blake McCoy said in the since-deleted tweet. “Vaccinate all essential workers. Then obese.”

Obesity and COVID-19

Roughly 40% of adult Americans have obesity, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2018. Studies have shown people with obesity are more likely to have worse outcomes from COVID-19 than others with a lower body mass index (BMI).Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found people with a BMI above 30 had a 113% higher risk for hospitalization, a 74% higher risk for ICU admission and a 48% higher risk of death, according to a study published in August 2020 in Obesity Reviews.

At first, health experts believed people with obesity were more at risk for severe COVID-19 because the disease also is associated with numerous underlying risk factors including hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney and liver disease.

But after controlling for those factors, researchers found people with obesity were still at higher risk for COVID-19, said Dr. Rekha Kumar, medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. This may be partly due to the excess fat tissue producing more inflammation, she said.

Nearly $1.9 trillion allocated- By 50-49 votes the United States Senate passes the #AmericanRescuePlan

Senate Democrats passed their version of the near- $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act Saturday afternoon, but not before making some major changes from the version of the bill passed by the House of Representative last week.

Some of the most notable changes between the two relief bills include dropping a provision to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and reducing the number of people who will qualify for a $1,400 stimulus payment

The value of federal enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) benefits were also changed to appease moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who threatened not to support the bill. Just as in the House, no Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the legislation, saying it was unnecessary.

“This isn’t a pandemic rescue package,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y, said on Friday. “It’s a parade of left-wing pet projects that they are ramming through during a pandemic.”

The bill keeps many of the progressive provisions from the House’s version, and added a provision to make student loan forgiveness passed between Dec 31, 2020 and Jan 1, 2026 tax-free.

“Covid has affected nearly every aspect of life,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Saturday. “The American Rescue Plan will deliver more help to more people than anything the federal government’s done in decades.”
Here are some of the major changes between the House and Senate versions of the bill that may affect your pocketbook.

Minimum wage

As expected, the provision to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour was stripped from the Senate’s bill after the parliamentarian, a nonpartisan official who decides which bills qualify to pass the upper chamber via reconciliation, determined last week that the provision did not meet the standards legislation must meet to pass with a simple majority.

It’s not clear it would have been included anyway: Seven Democratic senators and Angus King, the independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats, voted against an amendment proposed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, also an independent, to increase the minimum wage.

Stimulus payments

The bill provides funding for a third economic impact payment, worth up to $1,400 per individual and dependent.

Individuals earning an adjusted gross income (AGI) up to $75,000 (and married couples earning up to $150,000) are eligible for the the full $1,400 each, plus $1,400 for each dependent. In the Senate version, the payments phase out much more quickly than in the House version: No individual with an AGI over $80,000 or couples earning over $160,000 will receive one. Heads of household earning up to $112,500 will receive the full amount, and it will phase out completely at $120,000 for those filers.

In the previous version of the bill, the payments phased out completely at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples. An estimated 12 million fewer adults will now qualify for a stimulus payment, compared to previous rounds.

Many Americans were upset by the move to lower the top income eligibility threshold, calling it a “slap in the face” to middle class Americans who were counting on the money and no longer qualify.

The payments are based on either 2019 or 2020 income, depending on when a taxpayer files their 2020 tax return.

Unlike previous stimulus payments, adult dependents, including college students, disabled adults and elderly Americans, may qualify for a $1,400 payment.

Student loans

The Senate’s bill includes a provision to make any student loan forgiveness passed between Dec 31, 2020 and Jan 1, 2026 tax-free. Usually, forgiven debt is treated as taxable income.

The Senate’s bill does not include student debt forgiveness directly, but it would make it easier for President Joe Biden to forgive $10,000 in student debt, as he has said he wants to, by executive action, if Congress does not do it.

Unemployment insurance

The Senate’s bill will extend the federal jobless benefit supplement at $300 per week through Sept. 6, and make the first $10,200 in UI received in 2020 non-taxable for households with incomes under $150,000.

That differs from the House bill, which extended jobless programs through Aug. 29 and gave an extra $400 per week in benefits. It did not include the provision to make any of the benefits non-taxable.

The House will now have to sign off of the changes before the bill can be signed by the president.

A light of “hope” for Democrats – #CovidReliefBill

Senate Democrats are moving ahead with an updated version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes several tweaks intended to satisfy some moderates ahead of an expected final vote in the coming days.

The Senate voted 51-50 along party lines to advance the bill on Thursday. Vice President Harris voted with all Democrats to break the tie and move ahead with the lengthy debate and amendment process.

The new version of the bill includes more money for rural hospitals, more generous access to federal programs for live venue operators, a tax benefit for student-loan borrowers and changes to the $350 billion pot of state and local relief money. The changes come a day after party leaders agreed to narrow the income eligibility for receiving the latest round of $1,400 stimulus checks, at the request of moderate Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., spent the past several days negotiating with senators to balance changes demanded by moderates with tweaks that satisfy others in the Democratic Party. Republicans are not expected to vote for the bill, meaning Democrats will need unanimous support to pass one of the largest spending bills in history.”We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “We are not going to be timid in the face of a great challenge. We are not going to delay when urgent action is called for.”

The latest update would make all coronavirus-related student-loan relief tax-free, increase COBRA health care coverage for those who lose jobs in the pandemic from 85% to 100% and provide $10 billion in additional infrastructure funding for state, local and tribal governments.

Another significant change sought by Democrats and many Republicans was limitations on how the $350 billion state and local relief fund could be spent. The new version of the bill requires that funds be used by the end of 2024 and only to respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 “or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.”

The new limits go on to specify that the fund can be used to provide government services “to the extent of the reduction in revenue” from the pandemic and can be used for “necessary investments” in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure

Progressives have been disappointed by changes to the House-passed legislation that they say make the bill less effective in providing economic relief to the people hardest hit in the pandemic. First, Democrats were forced to eliminate a provision to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 after the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian decided the policy would have violated Senate budget rules.

They were further frustrated by the decision to cap stimulus payments at lower income levels than those that had passed the House. Senate leaders and the White House agreed to demands from centrist Democrats that the payments be focused on lower- and middle-income families.

Under the Senate bill, individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples earning $150,000 or less per year would still receive the full $1,400 payment. But the payments would cut off for individuals earning $80,000 or more and couples earning over $160,000, a significant decrease from the House figures.

Many House progressives, particularly those who represent cities with higher costs of living, argue the lower thresholds penalize single parents in particular because often they must earn much more in order to support their families.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the vast majority of people who received payments in December would still receive payments under the new agreement.

“Under the Senate version of the bill, 158.5 million households are going receive direct payments,” Psaki said. “That’s 98% of the households who received them in December.

The World Needs More Syringes – See How this Indian Man Makes 5,900 Syringes per minute

In late November, an urgent email popped up in the inbox of Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices, one of the world’s largest syringe makers.

It was from UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, and it was desperately seeking syringes. Not just any would do. These syringes must be smaller than usual. They had to break if used a second time, to prevent spreading disease through accidental recycling.

“I thought, ‘No issues,’” said Rajiv Nath, the company’s managing director, who has sunk millions of dollars into preparing his syringe factories for the vaccination onslaught. “We could deliver it possibly faster than anybody else.”

As countries jostle to secure enough vaccine doses to put an end to the COVID-19 outbreak, a second scramble is unfolding for syringes. Vaccines aren’t all that useful if health care professionals lack a way to inject them into people.

Officials in the United States and the European Union have said they don’t have enough vaccine syringes. In January, Brazil restricted exports of syringes and needles when its vaccination effort fell short.

Further complicating the rush, the syringes have to be the right type. Japan revealed last month that it might have to discard millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine if it couldn’t secure enough special syringes that could draw out a sixth dose from its vials. In January, the Food and Drug Administration advised health care providers in the United States that they could extract more doses from the Pfizer vials after hospitals there discovered that some contained enough for a sixth — or even a seventh — person.“A lot of countries were caught flat-footed,” said Ingrid Katz, the associate director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “It seems like a fundamental irony that countries around the world have not been fully prepared to get these types of syringes.”

The world needs between 8 billion and 10 billion syringes for COVID-19 vaccinations alone, experts say. In previous years, only 5% to 10% of the estimated 16 billion syringes used worldwide were meant for vaccination and immunization, said Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, and an expert on health care supply chains.

Wealthier nations like the United States, Britain, France and Germany pumped billions of dollars of taxpayer money into developing the vaccines, but little public investment has gone to expand manufacturing for syringes, Yadav said.

“I worry not just about the overall syringe manufacturing capacity but capacity for the specific types of syringes,” he said, “and whether syringes would already be in locations where they are needed.”

Not all of the world’s syringes are suited to the task.

To maximize the output from a vial of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, a syringe must carry an exact dose of 0.3 milliliters. The syringes also must have low dead space — the infinitesimal distance between the plunger and the needle after the dose is fully injected — to minimize waste.The industry has ramped up to meet demand. Becton Dickinson, which is based in New Jersey and a major syringe manufacturer, said it will spend $1.2 billion over four years to expand capacity in part to deal with pandemics.

“People should be worried about natural mutations of Covid-19” says Dr. Kavita Patel

Thanks to natural mutations, more-infectious and potentially deadlier variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are now racing around the globe and are threatening to turn back the recent progress against the disease due to vaccination.

Last week Houston became the first big American city to report the presence of all five variants that have medical experts worried — a California strain called B.1.427/B.1.429, a New York variant classified as B.1.526, the Brazilian P.1 strain, a strain called B.1.351 that is believed to have originated in South Africa, and the U.K. mutation B.1.1.7, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts will become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of the month.

Each new variant comes with new, worrisome features. P.1, for instance, has been found to make reinfection easier, while new studies show that B.1.1.7 extends the infectious period beyond the original strain.

With so many questions being raised by the growing number of mutations, Yahoo News turned to resident medical expert Dr. Kavita Patel for answers. (The following interview was edited for clarity.)

Dr. Kavita Patel: I think people should be worried. There’s a large number, a majority of the population that has not been vaccinated. They should be very worried, because they are prime targets for these viruses with the variants to reproduce.

Remember, the goal of a virus is not to kill people, it’s actually just to continue to stay alive, and the only way it does that is by infecting people. People who are not vaccinated should be incredibly worried, which is why I, in turn, am very worried about the variants as I watch now 12 states and counting, very big states including Texas and Florida, lifting any sort of mask requirements or leaving it to individuals or businesses. That’s a group that should be very worried.

Even people who are vaccinated should have some concern because all these [vaccine] trials that went on, the majority of them did not happen when we had experience with these variants. So, we are all happy that the vaccines work to some degree against the variants, but we’re not quite sure how long it will last, whether we need a booster. All the manufacturers are already talking about booster vaccines, so getting a vaccine, like I did, is a ton of relief mentally, but, I’ll be honest with you, I’m still worried when I leave my house, mostly because of these variants.

To date, a little over 16 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Is there a level at which mutations won’t pose as big of a threat?

We do know that in just kind of normal virology or infectious disease that over 50 percent and higher, the more people who are vaccinated, [the more] decreased the rate of infectivity becomes. The R naught or the Rt, which is [the measure of] how many people, if you get the infection, you will infect, that number is already coming down and will continue to go down. It won’t get to zero, but it will be pretty darn close. So that if you get infected there’s basically no chance of you infecting anyone else when we get to a certain level of immunity.

Everybody’s asking, ‘Is that herd immunity?’ But it’s not a light switch, so above 50 percent, the higher we go, the more the chances of getting infected decrease. That’s good news. We’re getting closer and closer, but we’re not going to get there in the next — it’s going to be weeks if not months before we get to that point.

Dolly Parton gets a “taste” of her own medicine #Covid19

Dolly Parton announced on Tuesday that she has received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed with help from her $1million donation early last year.

The 75-year-old country music icon posted a picture of herself getting the injection, with a caption that read, ‘Dolly gets a dose of her own medicine’, singing ‘vaccine, vaccine’ to the tune of her hit ‘Jolene’ beforehand.

She received the shot from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the research center which received the million-dollar donation from the ‘9 to 5’ singer last April, as she called on ‘all of you cowards out there’ to book an appointment for a jab.

Parton learned that her money was used to develop the shot in November when she was listed as one of several donors as it was announced that Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be 94.5 percent effective.

The singer had initially said last month that she was holding off on receiving the vaccine, despite being eligible due to her age, as she did not want to be seen as skipping the line because of her donation.

Yet the singer finally went for a vaccine appointment this week, describing herself as ‘excited’, as she used the opportunity to encourage others to register, even rewriting the words of her hit ‘Jolene’ to spark enthusiam.

It was administered by Dr. Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery at the center who Parton befriended in October 2013 after he treated her following a car crash.

‘Hey it’s me!’ Parton said in a video posted to her Twitter account.

‘I am finally going to get my vaccine, I’m so excited. I’ve been waiting a while and I’m old enough to get it and I’m smart enough to get it. So I’m very happy to say I’m going to get my Moderna shot.

‘I wanted to tell everybody that you should get out there and get it to so I changed one of my songs to fit the occasion,’ she continued before beginning to sing.

China and Russia Conquers the vaccine market- for NOW

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China’s double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

The vaccines from China and Russia are the first to reach low-income countries that likely won’t have broad access to vaccines until 2023, according to some projections.

By the numbers: China has provided vaccines to 20 countries, including across South America and Africa, and has plans to send doses to at least 40 more, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement sent to the Wall Street Journal.

Poland is the latest European country to consider Chinese-made vaccines.

Chinese companies and government officials have worked with local partners to create cold-chain infrastructure in Ethiopia to help transport and distribute vaccines.

More than two dozen countries have authorized the use of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine. Ten countries in Latin and South America have already received or will soon receive shipments, as have Slovakia, Hungary, and several other nations.

Details: China’s vaccines weren’t as effective in clinical trials as some of those made in the U.S. and Europe, but they don’t require ultra-cold storage, making them easier to transport and distribute.

Last week, China approved two more vaccines, bringing the total number of Chinese-made vaccines to four. One of the newly approved vaccines only requires a single shot.

Between the lines: With reported daily COVID cases often in the single digits, China’s leaders face less pressure to quickly vaccinate Chinese citizens.

Only about 40 million doses had been administered domestically as of Feb. 9, falling short of the 100 million doses Chinese authorities had promised by that time.

On March 1, top Chinese disease expert Zhong Nanshan said authorities are now aiming to vaccinate 40% of the population by June.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Europe are focusing on vaccinating their own citizens first.

The Biden administration has promised $4 billion in funding for COVAX, half of it available immediately — but has also said the U.S. will vaccinate Americans before sending doses abroad.

The European Union implemented limited vaccine export controls in late January, drawing criticism from the World Health Organization for “vaccine nationalism.

[Full Guide] Covishield VS Covaxin

With the third phase of Covid vaccination beginning from Monday in India, we breakdown the similarities and differences between the two vaccine candidates — Covishield and Covaxin available for inoculation in the country currently.

There are two Covid vaccines that are being used in India right now — Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute’s Covishield. Both have some similarities but have many differences

As senior citizens across the country begin to take the vaccination from today, here is all the information you need to know about the two vaccines available for inoculation:


Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine that has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, Pune (NIV). It is based on a tried and tested platform of dead viruses.

The vaccine is developed using Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell-derived platform technology. Inactivated vaccines do not replicate and are therefore unlikely to revert and cause pathological effects. They contain dead virus — incapable of infecting people but still able to instruct the immune system to mount a defensive reaction against an infection.

Conventionally, inactivated vaccines have been around for decades. Numerous vaccines for diseases such as seasonal influenza, polio, pertussis, rabies and Japanese encephalitis use the same technology to develop inactivated vaccines.

Covishield is based on the viral vector platform. A chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1 is the vector that has been modified to carry the coronavirus spike protein into human cells. While the injected cold virus is harmless it serves as an instruction manual for the body on how to fight against similar viruses. This platform is used for infections like Ebola.


Both Covishield and Covaxin follow a 2-dose vaccination regimen given 28 days apart.

Both vaccines do not require sub-zero storage, no reconstitution requirement, and ready to use liquid presentation in multi-dose vials, stable at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

Pre-clinical studies of Covaxin demonstrated strong immunogenicity and protective efficacy in animal challenge studies conducted in hamsters & non-human primates. Efficacy data in humans is not available, since phase III trials have not wrapped up.

Efficacy data of Covishield, since the vaccine has the advantage of a global arm, shows a satisfactory percentage of 62 per cent.

Covishield is approved for restricted use in emergency situations that may prevent Covid-19 disease in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Covaxin has received restricted use authorization in a clinical trial mode.

Both vaccines do not have a market use authorization clearance yet from the Drugs Controller General of India.

The vaccines are being administered free of cost at government hospitals and health centres while Rs 250 will be charged for it at private health facilities.


Both are intramuscular vaccines.

Nurses are quiting due to the pandemic – traumatized and tired #Covid19

Nursing was more than a career to Rachel Ellsworth. She says she was “called” to the work.

For 10 of her 12 years in nursing, Ellsworth was an indefatigable intensive care nurse. The work energized her, and she felt privileged to witness some of the most important moments of people’s lives, when their worlds shifted for better or worse. Though she did all she could to save them, she also found purpose in giving her patients a “peaceful, dignified death” when it was time.
“I was the kind of person who went into work every day, like, literally, ‘Let’s go save lives,’ for 12 years” she said. “I was just so excited to be there, so full of hope and compassion.”
When the pandemic began in spring 2020, her commitment was tested but not quashed. She and her colleagues talked about renting apartments and living apart from their families to serve their patients. Residents of their southeast Florida community threw parades for them to thank them for their work. Ellsworth felt supported, like the sacrifices she’d made were worth it.

Rachel Ellsworth’s nursing job became more and more stressful and despairing throughout the pandemic.
Summer was worse. The hospital where she worked saw a major spike in Covid-19 patients. Some of those previous unknowns about the virus now had answers, many of them grim. It became disturbingly clear when a patient wouldn’t survive.
“We were very limited in what we could do to help them,” she said. “We were losing.”

The stress came to a head in late 2020 when a Covid-19 patient she “just adored, the sweetest guy,” begged her to try any treatments that could save him. But they’d tried everything. She had no hope to give him. There was no dignifying his death.
After months of debating the decision, she finally quit her job in January.
“It broke me,” she said. “It was just too much.”

Almost a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, America’s nurses — who for almost 20 years have been voted the country’s most trusted professionals — are running on empty. They’ve reused PPE, canceled PTO and worked extended shifts for employers they don’t always feel value their safety.
The stress and lack of support has driven many nurses to quit their jobs. And during the worst health crisis the US has seen in more than a century, the health care system can’t afford to lose them.

CNN spoke to three nurses from Florida, Oklahoma and Minnesota about why they quit their hospital jobs. It wasn’t a decision any of them made lightly — they’ve been nurses their entire adult lives.

Such was the case for Megan Chao Smith, a nurse in Minneapolis who before the pandemic worked on an end-stage heart failure floor. Nurses there helped their patients eat, breathe and use the restroom, among other basic functions. When her hospital cut staff, her workload doubled, and she said she often had to be in two rooms at once to keep her patients alive.

“If we were split in half, it still would’ve been too much work,” she told CNN.
Working on that floor drained her. She couldn’t sleep or exercise or be present with her wife and child when her workday ended. She loved her job, but she couldn’t leave it at the hospital.
She felt she wasn’t “tough enough” to hack the increasingly unmanageable workload expected of her.
A majority of nurses may feel the same. An American Nurses Association survey, conducted in December 2020, found that close to 75% of nurses reported feeling exhausted in the last two weeks — not unexpected in a profession that keeps you on your feet for half a day.

[Full Story] Anyone Can Refuse Covid-19 vaccine at Vatican? #PopeFrancis #Vatican

The Vatican City State Governorate releases a statement explaining a recent decree on the need to vaccinate employees who work in public-facing jobs, saying the directive seeks to strike a balance between protecting the community and an individual’s freedom of choice.
The Governorate of Vatican City State issued a statement on Thursday regarding the issue of Covid-19 vaccinations within the Vatican.

It follows on the heels of the Decree of the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State No. 398, issued on 8 February on the subject of health emergencies.

The Decree, reads the note, “was issued to provide an urgent regulatory response to the primary need to safeguard and guarantee the health and well-being of employees, citizens, and residents of Vatican City State. The presupposition, therefore, is that of protecting the individual employee and the working environment, in the case of the event that a public health emergency could be set off .”

In particular,” continues the statement, “the provision concerns all the appropriate measures aimed at preventing, tracking, and dealing with unique situations of a public health emergency. At the same time, it lays out all the instruments required for an adequate and proportional response to the health risk.”

Taking stock of risks posed by vaccine refusal

The Vatican statement also specifies that certain jobs may require vaccination.

“Among these measures indicated by the State Health Authority, it may be deemed necessary to resort to vaccination for certain contexts: in work activities related to service to the public, interactions with third parties, or those posing risks to the safety of other employees. Voluntary adherence to a vaccination program must, therefore, take into account the risk that any refusal by a person concerned may pose a risk to him or herself, to others, and to the working environment.”

For this reason, reads the statement, “protecting the community may include — for those who refuse vaccination in the absence of health reasons — the adoption of measures that both minimizes the danger at issue and allows alternative work solutions to be found for the interested party.”

Intent to protect community, not to punish

The Vatican Governorate statement goes on to recall previous regulations which pertain to the issue.

Those in question include the “Norms for the protection of the dignity of the person and their fundamental rights to be observed in health checks in view of hiring and throughout employment” and the “Norms for the protection of employees with certain serious diseases or with particular psychophysical conditions” of 18 November 2011. The note states that this health regulation should be considered a “tool that is neither sanctioning or punitive in nature in any case”.

Rather, it concludes, it is “intended to allow a flexible and proportionate response while striking a balance between protecting collective health and individual freedom of choice, without being oppressive for the employee.”

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