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Answering your booster shot questions | Coronavirus Newsletter

Get ready to roll up your sleeve. Again.

The gist: With more evidence showing that the immunity offered by coronavirus vaccines wanes over time, prepare for another needle stick. Government health officials are prescribing booster shots, and they will be available starting Sept. 20 for everyone eight months removed from full vaccination. Boosters already are available for the immunocompromised. Health experts say that while the vaccines have been effective, protection wanes over time, and the boosters might be the best shot at stopping the spread of the delta variant.

Meanwhile, case bumps and lagging vaccination rates could complicate life when schools reopen and kids return to classrooms and live instruction. Here’s why a vaccine mandate will be a juggling act for the Philadelphia School District.

It seems that nothing is simple in the universe of the coronavirus these days. Our science reporter came down with delta variant symptoms even though he had been fully inoculated. He tried to figure out why.

— Anthony R. Wood (@woodt15,

What you need to know:

🛫 Planning on taking a trip? Be advised that the Transportation Security Administration has extended its mask requirement for passengers until January. It was previously set to expire Sept. 13.

🏠 Good news for tenants, not necessarily for landlords: A federal judge has upheld continuing the eviction moratorium until Oct. 3. If you get locked out illegally, you do have rights.

😷 Among the businesses that had to scramble to adjust to the city’s new mask mandates were Philly’s workout gyms. Here’s a rundown of how gyms responded.

🚸 After parents expressed concerns that their kids who aren’t yet eligible for shots would be barred from businesses that require vaccinations, Philly updated its mask mandates for kids under 12.

⛪ The Philadelphia Archdiocese advises priests not to help those seeking religious exemptions from the vaccine. Here is the interesting reasoning.

📰What’s going on in your county or neighborhood? We organize recent coverage of the pandemic by local counties and Philly neighborhoods to make it easier for you to find info you care about. Sign up here to get those local headlines sent directly to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Local coronavirus numbers

📈The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on confirmed coronavirus cases, deaths caused by the virus, and vaccinations to curb the spread. Track the latest data here.

Citing evidence that the shots lose their protective punch over time, U.S. health officials plan to offer booster doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines starting Sept. 20 for those eight months removed from full vaccination. Health workers, long-term-care facility residents and staff, seniors, and people with underlying health conditions would be first in line. The boosters have set off a global debate. (The World Health Organization opposes them, citing unfairness to poorer nations. This New York Times story spells out the WMO’s argument.)

While the vaccine has been effective, U.S. health officials explain why it has its limits.

With Philadelphia School District staff is due to report for work on Monday, and classes begin the following week, any vaccine mandate for its employees won’t be in place by the start of the school year. Ultimately, It’s likely to happen, it’s just going to take awhile. The logistics of enforcing such a requirement are complicated, including the fact that six different unions would be involved in reaching an agreement. But Jerry Jorden, president of the largest union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, says don’t blame us. The PFT has expressed support for a vaccine mandate. In Montgomery County, the Upper Merion Area School District is requiring vaccines or two COVID tests a week.

Helpful resources

  1. Are you getting ready for a shot? Here’s how to prepare for your vaccine appointment.

  2. Ragweed season is starting, and that’s why you might be sneezing. How to tell the difference between allergy symptoms and COVID’s.

  3. Can I drink a shot after getting a shot? Yes, but please drink responsibly.

  4. Lost your vaccine card? You can get a replacement card.

You got this: Take a dip into Philly history

George and Martha Washington were said to love the stuff, records show that in 1784, George put an ice-cream maker in Philadelphia, perhaps a Revolutionary idea at the time. Plenty of other U.S. towns boast an ice-cream heritage. Among them are Burlington, Vt., where roughly 40 years ago, Ben Cohen and ‎Jerry Greenfield launched an ice cream empire from their little parlor. Good for them. But along with some delicious suggestions, here is the case for making Philadelphia the Ice Cream Capital of America. It’s more than a matter of taste.

🎨 Need a break from coronavirus fatigue? These are very economical suggestions, as in free.

🍹 When the music stops, here are some of best post-Made in American bars.

🎭 Check out A Thousand Fibers, a play centered on Fairhill’s Black and Puerto Rican communities, opening this weekend at Taller Puertorriqueño.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

What we’re paying attention to

  1. Can we believe everything we hear and read? Here’s some perspective in a piece posted by Poynter.

  2. Chances are you haven’t seen many of your colleagues in person for awhile. In the hyrbid era, fostering a sense of belonging is a challenge, and The Harvard Business Review offers some remedies.

  3. On the eve of the new school year, the delta variant is causing a stress outbreak among parents, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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