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Everything we know about the side effects COVID-19 vaccines can cause | Morning Newsletter

And, the threats to a family that a mask can’t ward off.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning.

First: Now we know more about the potential side-effects people can get from the COVID-19 vaccines.

Then: Here’s what it’s like for a family experiencing homelessness as children try to get a virtual education.

And: Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey set new daily records for coronavirus infections over the weekend. But there’s another COVID-19 consequence: Fatal drug overdoses in Philadelphia are climbing, and may even set a record.

With all of this, here we are keeping our heads turned to the night sky, where you can see Jupiter and Saturn seemingly soaring toward each other.

OK. Let’s get into it.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

The COVID-19 vaccines are bringing people hope right now. Along with that are questions about the potential side-effects, as with any vaccine.

They range from mild to more serious, and based on the trials, they’re all short-term. Those unpleasant symptoms are normal, and they just mean that the body is responding properly to the vaccination. One thing is sure: The idea that anyone could get COVID from the vaccine is a biological impossibility. We’ll know more about what’s what once the trials come to a close, but so far, it’s looking good.

How common are these potential side effects? How long do they last? Is the speed of the vaccines’ development a cause for concern? Health reporter Tom Avril tells us what to expect.

Threats to the population of people experiencing homelessness abound, and they extend far beyond the ones you can ward off with a mask. Education reporter Kristen Graham spends time with a family who turned to a shelter when their Germantown rowhouse got too crowded due to COVID-19.

Restrictions have tightened, and along with it, there’s reduced access to the shelter’s services. Much of what the shelter once offered before the pandemic has been put on hold. It’s not just living conditions: There’s the digital divide, an achievement gap, and exposure to even more risks without the school safety net for young people.

Here, a family shares their compelling story, with a hopeful ending in sight.

Shelter-in-place orders have brought new attention to the rise in Philadelphia’s overdoses, which tracks with the country’s resurgence as isolation and exhaustion take hold.

Local health officials are now concerned that the city looks as if it could surpass the number of fatalities from 2017, our worst year for deadly overdoses to date. While the complete data picture does take time, overdoses have significantly risen in 2020. A study this week discovered that at the height of stay-at-home orders in May, first responders got double last year’s overdose-related cardiac arrests.

Reporter Aubrey Whelan, who covers addiction and health disparities, has the story on the changes researchers are seeing.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

  1. Check the current coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. Are you seeing people again after having COVID-19? Read our checklist first.

  3. Can you travel this winter? Should you? Is it safe to travel? By plane? By car?

  4. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences in COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  5. Everything you need to know about buying, washing, replacing, and wearing face masks.

  6. Track the spread of COVID-19 infections in the region.

  7. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey set daily COVID-19 infection records. And some school districts are revising school plans.

  2. Let’s fact-check the false claims about Pennsylvania and the presidential election, shall we?

  3. Prisons in Philly are adopting “shelter in place” measures in response to a COVID-19 outbreak.

  4. The U.K. is preparing for a huge vaccination plan as the world watches.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We always have next holiday season. This is an enchanting shot of 2019′s holiday activity in full swing. Thanks for sharing @elevated.angles.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

  1. 🏘️ Historically low mortgage rates have presented attractive chances for home buyers in a position to take advantage of a variety of factors putting more expensive homes within reach.

  2. 🏀 Call it the COVID-19 effect. Why the outcome of the games this NBA season could have little to do with the talent at hand.

  3. 🎄 A modern-moving hip-hopping Nutcracker production? A walkabout through a twinkling outdoor train set? These are the holiday pandemic pivots on offer for family fun right now.

  4. ⚾ Why it’s so important that homegrown, cost-controlled players step into important roles in the Phillies’ lineup next year.

  5. 🔭 Jupiter and Saturn look as if they’re leaving their orbits behind to race toward each another like forbidden lovers to form what looks something like a super planet. It’s a wonder that happens every two decades, and the celestial phenomenon is visible in the night sky until Dec. 21. Here’s how to see it.

  6. 🦅 Jalen Hurts successfully changed the tone of last night’s game when things were getting desperate. But the Eagles deserved to lose.


“Mayor Jim Kenney and Commissioner Danielle Outlaw should show zero tolerance for police brutality in the department. If doing it in the name of justice is not enough, they should do it in the name of public safety.” The Inquirer Editorial Board writes that the Rickia Young exhibit of police brutality is the latest episode showing why there should be no tolerance for brutality in the police department.

  1. Columnist Maria Panaritis writes about discovering a $50 donation sent to her anonymously for a family of a boy with a rare terminal condition, and how it embodies true selflessness in a year sorely missing that.

  2. The Inquirer Editorial Board writes that we should normalize solving landlord-tenants disputes without eviction outside of court because it’s better for both tenants and landlords.

What we’re reading

  1. Wired explains the scientific reason why a driver miraculously emerged like a phoenix from a flame-engulfed car crash.

  2. Billy Penn introduces us to a site that’s closely mapping and tracking all the pandemic-related restaurant closures in Philly, farewells and all. Quick, find out whether your favorite spot is still open.

  3. Philly Mag shows us how six Philadelphians transformed their home work spaces into home offices that are the real deal. One features a home bar worthy of Don Draper and a wooden bird.

Your Daily Dose of | Forever

This small Philly wedding, with guests arranged by pandemic bubble, was the first normal thing the happy couple had in months. It was full of disco dancing, just like the beginning of the couple’s courtship. How they ended up in Philly is an even better story.