Coronavirus daily news updates, October 29: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

About nine in 10 public school employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Washington state, the state education department announced this week. The 89% vaccination rate for school workers — who were among the first granted access to vaccines — is slightly lower than that of other state employees, whose total vaccinated numbers stands at about 93%. Nearly all of the rest, about 10%, were granted a religious or medical exemption by their school district, a rate seven percentage points higher than that of other state agencies combined. Most of the exemptions, which are granted by individual school district human resources departments, are for religious reasons. 

Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected orders to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus despite a Pentagon mandate. Officials say it is too late for them to do so by Tuesday’s deadline. The vast majority of active-duty airmen, 96.4%, are at least partially vaccinated and nearly 87% of active duty troops are fully vaccinated, though hesitancy among military reservists and National Guard members drives down the rate for the entire military to about 68%. Religious objections have centered on the fetal cell lines used in some aspects of vaccine development — essentially reproductions of cells from abortions performed in the 1970s and ’80s; the shots themselves don’t contain the actual cells. A regimen of numerous vaccines is required upon joining the military and even more if troops are deployed overseas. Some of the required vaccines for diseases like Rubella, chickenpox and hepatitis A also were developed using similar cells.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.


Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washingtonians have a new way to show proof of vaccination. We successfully tested the online WA Verify tool, which is arriving just after King County’s new rules on vaccine verification went into effect.
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See if you’re eligible for a booster shot by checking our new flow chart and taking a more detailed look at who qualifies. 

Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected orders to get vaccinated, raising concerns about the military branch’s readiness to respond to crises.

Some parents were eager to get the coronavirus vaccine, but now they’re wavering on vaccinating their kids. What they decide could change the pandemic’s trajectory. Reliable information on this is competing with a maelstrom of untrue claims and startling statistics that may not be quite what they seem — like the one about how many kids have already been infected.

An island nation has reported its first-ever COVID-19 case, brought in by a plane traveler. Now the under-resourced health system faces big troubles if the virus takes hold.

—Kris Higginson

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Article Source: The Seattle Times