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Biden administration to require COVID-19 vaccine for 25,000 federal health care workers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced that it will require more than 25,000 members of its health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: It's the latest federal agency to implement a vaccine mandate, joining the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon.


Driving the news: "Our number one goal is the health and safety of the American public, including our federal workforce, and vaccines are the best tool we have to protect people from COVID-19, prevent the spread of the Delta variant, and save lives," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

  • Health care and research staff who work at the Indian Health Service (IHS) or National Institutes of Health (NIH) and potentially interact with patients will be required to receive the vaccine.
  • Members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will also be required to receive the COVID vaccine.

The big picture: The IHS, NIH and the Commissioned Corps already require health care workers to receive the seasonal flu vaccine and other vaccinations, with a process for medical and religious exemptions. The same processes will be applied for the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

  • "As President Biden has said, we are looking at every way we can to increase vaccinations to keep more people safe, and requiring our HHS health care workforce to get vaccinated will protect our federal workers, as well as the patients and people they serve," Becerra said.

Go deeper: Pentagon will require all troops to get COVID vaccine by Sept. 15

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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