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US Government Announces Mega Plan to Provide Freely Available COVID-19 Vaccines to All Americans

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WASHINGTON: The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make vaccines for COVID-19 accessible for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of disbelief rippling throughout the land.

In a report to Congress and an accompanying”playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin slowly in January or possibly later this year, finally ramping up to reach some American who wants a shot. The Pentagon is concerned with the supply of vaccines, but civilian health workers will be the ones providing shots.

The effort is “much larger in extent and complexity than seasonal flu or other previous outbreak-related vaccination responses,” said the playbook for states in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the highlights:

— For most vaccines, people will require two doses, 21 to 28 days apart. Double-dose vaccines might need to come in the same drugmaker. There might be several vaccines from different manufacturers approved and accessible.

— Vaccination of the U.S. population will not be a sprint but a marathon. Initially, there might be a limited supply of vaccines available, and the focus will be on protecting health workers, other workers that are essential, and individuals in vulnerable groups. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the National Academy of Medicine, and other associations are focusing on priorities for its initial stage. A second and third stage would expand Vaccination to the whole nation.

— The vaccine itself will be free of charge, and patients won’t be billed out of pocket for the administration of shots, thanks to billions of dollars in taxpayer funding approved by Congress and endorsed by the Trump administration.

— States and local communities will need to devise precise plans for receiving and locally dispersing vaccines, some of which will require special handlings such as refrigeration or freezing. States and towns have a month to submit programs.

Some of the broad components of the national program have been discussed, but Wednesday’s reports attempt to place the key details into a comprehensive framework. Distribution is happening beneath the umbrella of Operation Warp Speed, a White House-backed initiative to get millions of doses prepared to ship once a vaccine is given what is expected to become an emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Several formulations are undergoing final trials.

But the entire enterprise is confronting public skepticism. Just about half of Americans said they would get vaccinated in an Associated Press poll taken in May. Of those who wouldn’t get vaccinated, the overwhelming majority said they were concerned about security. To efficiently protect the country from the coronavirus, experts say upwards of 70 percent of Americans should be vaccinated or have their own immunity from fighting COVID-19.

Since the poll, questions have just mounted about whether the government is attempting to rush COVID-19 treatments and vaccines to help President Donald Trump’s reelection chances.

Ahead of the Republican National Convention in August, the FDA granted consent for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with plasma from people who have recovered, even though some government scientists weren’t convinced the clinical signs was sufficiently strong. And it was reported that Michael Caputo, a Health and Human Services Department political appointee, attempted to gain editorial control on a weekly scientific book in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As public confidence in core health bureaus has taken a beating, Trump government officials have been forced to play defense.

“We’re working closely with our state and local public health partners… to ensure that Americans can get the vaccine when feasible vaccinate with confidence,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Wednesday. “Americans should know that the vaccine development procedure is being driven entirely by science along with the information.”

That could be a tough sell. From the AP poll, 1 in 5 Americans said they would not find a coronavirus vaccine, and 31 percent said they were uncertain.

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House Of Dragon: Official Release Date Confirmed!

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House Of Dragon, the game of thrones prequel to be released soon. This one is actually the second spin-off series of GOT. Apparently, there was the first one though to be titled The Long Night, however, it was axed soon after the pilot episode. So, there’s something we never got to watch. Well, now to the good news we have HBO boss Casey Bloys confirming House of Dragons.

Casey Bloys has confirmed that the House of Dragon is still on track for a 2022 release. Although we do not have an exact release date, we can expect to watch it around mid-2022 or perhaps in October of 2022.

According to the deadline, they found out through an interview that casting is officially underway. According to Knife Edge Media, a casting call for three leads was released earlier this year. The call was for the famous Targaryen siblings Aegon, Visenya, and Rhaenys.

Seeing the pace in production we can positively hope for a 2022 release.

The prequel will take a deep dive into the origins of the Targaryens. Set 300 years before the events of Game Of Thrones we might see it going for an end towards the birth of John Snow. Well, this is still a guess.

However, it is adapted from the book Fire and Blood by George R.R Martin. Well, as we are set to see the Targaryens we certainly will see the Starks, Lannisters, and Baratheons. Moreover, we will also get the answers to several questions from GOT, for instance, how did Benjen survive North of the Wall. Further, we will also see the mad king in action. Moreover, we might also get to see the famous rebellion and Jamie Lannister getting the title of King Slayer. However, that’s more towards the end.

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Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver Started Out As A Literal Screwdriver

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Modern Doctor Who uses the sonic screwdriver for a variety of uses, but the handy device began in the Second Doctor era as a literal screwdriver.

Doctor Who fans are used to seeing The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver perform miracles, but the device’s name was originally very literal. Those familiar with classic-era Doctor Who are generally quick to point out how the current show differs from the first run, which charted The Doctor’s first seven incarnations. From romance in the TARDIS to a heavier focus on companions, there’s no shortage of differences between classic and new Who, but one of the most immediately obvious changes is how the sonic screwdriver is used.

Today, the sonic screwdriver is a weapon, a tool, a scanner and a plot device all rolled into one convenient package, sitting in The Doctor’s pocket ready to be whipped out in a host of different scenarios. Despite only appearing to have a single button, The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver can open doors, interact with machinery, scan the atmosphere and enact repairs in mere moments. Sometimes, The Doctor doesn’t appear to be sonic-ing anything at all; just pointing and hoping for the best. Modern Doctors also have a habit of posing with their sonic screwdrivers like guns – something Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary episode openly mocked through John Hurt’s War Doctor. But despite the omnipotent nature of the sonic screwdriver in the 2000s, the origins of the device are far more humble.

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Related: Doctor Who’s Timeless Child Retcon Broke River Song’s Origin

First introduced in 1968, the sonic screwdriver’s intended purpose was, as the name implies, loosening screws. The Second Doctor landed back on Earth with his two companions, Jamie and Victoria, and something had evidently gone horribly wrong – a gas pipe was generating sea foam in vast quantities, creating an eerie, alien landscape. The Doctor goes to inspect the pipe, but as a meek fellow, can’t dislodge the iron casing. For the first time, the sonic screwdriver is introduced, allowing The Doctor to remove the screws and peek inside the pipe’s control box. Although the original sonic screwdriver was far simpler in design (a small, metallic pencil with a light on the end), the familiar whirring sound was still present. Younger Doctor Who fans might think the term “sonic screwdriver” is just The Doctor’s quaint sense of humor at work, downplaying the power of the device. In truth, the sonic screwdriver was, once upon a time, a literal screwdriver that used sonic waves instead of physical strength.

Second Doctor sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who

Given The Doctor’s alien origins (he hadn’t yet been revealed as a Time Lord), it’s natural that his toolkit would contain some futuristic pieces. The sonic screwdriver was science fiction’s answer to a real life, ordinary screwdriver, removing screws that would otherwise be too tough for a manual tool held by an older man. Unlike more recent episodes, it never felt like the Second Doctor was “packing heat” and fans were seldom left asking “why didn’t he just use the sonic?

While modern Doctor Who undoubtedly changed the role of the sonic screwdriver, the device’s usage was expanded long before Russell T Davies came along. The sonic screwdriver began its transition to a science fiction swiss army knife in the Second Doctor episode “The Dominators,” where it cut through a section of wall, albeit only with a special attachment. But it was Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor who truly brought the sonic screwdriver to the fore, using his model to open doors, scan new areas, and much more. By “reversing the polarity” during “Frontier In Space,” the Third Doctor proved the sonic screwdriver could be customized to open up new settings, which were subsequently written into the sonic screwdriver’s capabilities.

Despite the sonic screwdriver becoming more versatile in the Third Doctor era, the device was still nowhere near as prominent as it is today, featuring far more sporadically compared to the revived series. But as soon as this fascinating concept was introduced to Doctor Who, writers realized the potential of The Doctor’s new accessory, and quickly began relying on the sonic screwdriver to overcome plot wrinkles and quicken the pace of each episode. The Third Doctor ushered in a new era of Doctor Who, designed to be more accessible and action-based, and expanding the sonic screwdriver’s array of utilities helped deliver that change.

More: Why Doctor Who Continuity Is Really So Confusing

Doctor Who returns with “Revolution of the Daleks” this Christmas on BBC.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 Sequel Name May Have Leaked Already


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Republican Senators Push Back Against Netflix Over ‘Game of Thrones’ Creators’ New Series

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The streamer announced earlier this month that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would be adapting Liu Cixin’s sci-fi trilogy “The Three-Body Problem.”

Republican senators have sent a letter to Netflix chief content officer and co-CEO Ted Sarandos pushing back against the streaming service’s upcoming series “The Three-Body Problem.” Netflix announced September 1 that “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are adapting Liu Cixin’s science-fiction trilogy “The Three-Body Problem” for the streamer with the help of “The Terror: Infamy” writer Alexander Woo and executive producers Rian Johnson and Rosamund Pike. The letter claims that by producing the series Netflix is “normalizing” the imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.

The senators point to an interview “Three-Body Problem” author Liu Cixin gave in 2019 to The New Yorker in which he expressed approval over the imprisonment of Uighur Muslims. Human right abuses are reportedly taking place in Xinjiang province, including the detainment of over one million Uighur Muslims.

When asked in 2019 about imprisoning Muslims in Xinjiang, Liu Cixin responded, “Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty.”

The letter to Netflix is signed by Martha McSally (R., Ariz.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.), and Thom Tillis (R., N.C.). The Republican members ask Netflix to rethink its working relationship with Liu Cixin considering his comments, while adding, “Does Netflix agree that the Chinese Communist Party’s interment of 1.8 to 3 million Uyghurs in internment or labor camps based on their ethnicity is unacceptable?”

“Netflix’s company culture statement asserts that ‘Entertainment, like friendship, is a fundamental human need; it changes how we feel and gives us common ground,’” the letter concludes. “This statement is a beautiful summary of the value of the American entertainment industry, which possesses innovation largely unmatched in the global market. We ask Netflix to seriously reconsider the implications of providing a platform to Mr. Liu in producing this project.”

Disney came under fire earlier this month for filming its live-action “Mulan” adaptation in parts of the Xinjiang province. The end credits of “Mulan” also include a “special thanks” to the “publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee” and to the public security bureau in the city of Turpan, which is where detainment centers are reportedly in operation.

With the first installment of the “Three-Body Problem” series, Liu Cixin became the first writer in Asia to win the prestigious Hugo Award. The book is set during the Cultural Revolution when humans establish contact with an alien civilization on the edge of extinction. After the aliens invade earth, humans split off into two camps: one in favor of takeover by the superior aliens and the other determined to resist.

IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for further comment.

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