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Facebook announced on Feb. 8 that it will take down posts with claims about vaccines that health organizations or its fact-checkers deem false.

“Today, we are expanding our efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general during the pandemic,” said a post from the social media giant. “Since December, we’ve removed false claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.”

“Today, following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines,” Facebook stated in a blog post.

WHO came under fire in 2020 for allegedly mishandling the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus outbreak, leading then-President Donald Trump to withdraw funding to the United Nations organization. Since then, there have been increasing calls for an investigation into the origin of the virus, which is said to have emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

Facebook added that it will “begin enforcing this policy immediately,” adding that it will focus on publishers, groups, and accounts that violate its rules.

“We are also requiring some admins for groups with admins or members who have violated our COVID-19 policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group. Claims about COVID-19 or vaccines that do not violate these policies will still be eligible for review by our third-party fact-checkers, and if they are rated false, they will be labeled and demoted,” the company stated.

One of Facebook’s main fact-checkers is Lead Stories, a company that has received funds via Facebook, Google, and TikTok owner ByteDance, which has ties with the Chinese regime.

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Twitter announced in December 2020 that it would also begin labeling and removing posts about the CCP virus vaccine that it deems false.

Both Facebook and Twitter have come under fire in recent years for what critics have said is an attempt to censor people who express views outside the mainstream media narrative. Last month, Trump’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms were suspended—prompting an outcry from conservatives and civil liberties groups.

And separately, earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call that the Menlo Park, California-based company will start to reduce political posts.

“We’re also currently considering steps that we can take to reduce the amount of political content in News Feed as well,” Zuckerberg said, adding it is trying to create programs to “enable people to engage in political groups and discussions if they want to.”

“One of the top pieces of feedback that we are hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” he said. “So, one theme for this year is that we’re going to continue to focus on helping millions of more people participate in healthy communities, and we’re going to focus even more on being a force for bringing people closer together.”

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Biden Administration Responds to Reports on Development of Vaccine Passports

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President Joe Biden’s administration is not creating COVID-19 vaccine passports but officials are working with private companies to set guidelines for the systems, which people can use to show proof they’ve been vaccinated, the White House said Monday.

The administration will “provide guidance” on the effort to develop vaccine passports and similar systems, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.

“There is currently an interagency process that is looking at many of the questions around vaccine verification, and that issue will touch many agencies, as verification is an issue that will potentially touch many areas of society. That’s guidance we’ll provide. A determination or development of vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it will be driven by the private sector. Ours will more be focused on guidelines that can be used as a basis and there are a couple of key principles that we are working from,” she added.

The key principles are that there will be no centralized, universal database tracking COVID-19 vaccinations, there will be no federal mandate requiring all Americans to obtain a single vaccine passport, there will be encouragement of an open marketplace with both companies and nonprofits developing technology, and there will be an effort by the government to ensure all passports meet key standards, such as “accessibility” and “affordability,” Psaki said.

“This is something we are working through. We want to provide clarity to the public,” she added.

Several reports had indicated over the weekend that the administration was leading the effort to create passports by setting standards for the systems.

New York state became the first state in the nation to roll out a vaccine passport last week. The technology, developed with IBM, will be used at entrances to stadiums, arenas, and businesses to prove the holder has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Other companies and groups are developing similar technology, with an eye on requiring vaccinations to fly on planes, attend concerts, and for other venues where crowds of people gather.

Some have expressed concern about the passes.

“I think vaccine passports are a disproportionately technologically heavy solution, and they’re likely to be a waste of resources. But beyond that, I think there are also serious ethical concerns. I think that it’s an unnecessarily divisive approach. And I think it’s going to create more unfairness and inequality in an already unequal society,” Dr. Sarah Chan, an expert in bioethics at the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine, told NTD’s “The Nation Speaks” in a recent interview.

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“If we start deciding who’s allowed to freely participate in society based on individual vaccination status, we’re really trying to put the responsibility onto individuals to be vaccinated. And that, in turn, assumes that whether or not a person has been vaccinated is wholly a matter of their own completely free choice. And that’s just not the case. In fact, vaccination is going to be dependent on a whole load of other factors beyond people’s control, such as ability to access the vaccine, pre-existing health conditions, and so forth,” she added later.

A top adviser to Biden earlier Monday said that Americans, as well as those in other countries, who get vaccinated “will want to be able to demonstrate that vaccination in various forms.”

“Unlike other parts of the world the government here does not view its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens. We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do. What’s important to us, and we are leading an interagency process right now to go through these details, are that some important criteria be met with these credentials,” such as “equitable access,” Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House on COVID-19, told reporters during a virtual briefing.

“Privacy of the information, security, and a marketplace of solutions are all things that are part of what we believe in as is the ability for people to be able to access this free and in multiple languages,” he added.

Pressed on why the government isn’t developing the passports itself, Slavitt later said that a segment of the population is already concerned about the government being heavy-handed in some aspects with regard to vaccinations.

“Point of fact, it would discourage people to feel like that was the role we are playing. So we think we can have the best of all worlds and put forward guidelines and guidance,” he said.

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Biden Administration Converting Third Convention Center to Illegal Immigrant Holding Facility

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President Joe Biden’s administration is going to use a third convention center to house illegal immigrant youth.

The Freeman Expo Center in San Antonio is being converted to an Emergency Intake Center for children who cross the southern border without their parents.

Up to 2,400 kids can be housed at the facility, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

“The Emergency Intake Site will provide ORR with needed capacity to accept children from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) into its care where they can be safely processed, cared for and either released to a sponsor or transferred to an appropriate ORR shelter for longer-term care. The Emergency Intake Site is intended for use as a temporary measure,” the agency said in a statement obtained by The Epoch Times.

The administration has already reached deals to house up to 1,400 immigrant youth in the San Diego Convention Center and up to 2,300 youth in the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.

Additionally, officials have opened at least five other locations to hold the children, and the Pentagon accepted requests to keep thousands of youth at Fort Bliss and another several hundred at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland. In total, ORR operates over 200 facilities and programs in 22 states. There’s also a plan to send illegal immigrant families to hotels, with taxpayers footing the bill.

Bexar County’s manager didn’t immediately return an inquiry. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, asked about facilities possibly being used to house immigrants, told reporters on Tuesday that no agreement had been reached yet.

“We do have facilities there. They’re climate control. They’re large. But we are talking about, how will we handle security? Who would be the food provider, who will actually be managing the place? It’d be pretty much our job to, if we do it, to coordinate with them and to make the space available, but no agreements been reached yet. We’re just now talking about a possible contract,” he said.

The United States saw a jump in illegal border crossings in February, including an increase of over 3,600 unaccompanied minors from the month before. Officials have struggled to deal with the increase, with overcrowded conditions in Border Patrol facilities exposed through leaked photographs.

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Texas
An overflow facility in Donna, Texas, in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar’s office)

Biden’s administration stopped expelling youth who cross into the country, a reversal of the Trump era utilization of Title 42 powers to send them back to their home countries. The powers are used in a bid to prevent COVID-19 from entering the country through immigrants.

Biden told reporters in Washington that under the previous administration, unaccompanied children would “starve to death” after being expelled from the country.

“No previous administration did that either, except Trump. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it,” he added.

Stephen Miller, a top immigration adviser to Trump, called the accusation “spectacularly false” and “a grave smear on our border agents.”

Illegal border crossers were returned to Mexico and unaccompanied youth were returned to their countries of origin to be reunited with their families, Miller wrote on Twitter.

“This humane policy from President Trump brought unaccompanied minor numbers to record lows. Biden’s disastrous decision to exempt minors from Title 42, and to stop the at-home reunification process in favor of domestic resettlement, single-handedly created this crisis,” he wrote.

A reporter had referenced a 9-year-old boy who claimed to have traveled without adults to the United States from Honduras. The reporter said they reached the boy’s mother by phone. She said she sent her son to America because she believed Biden’s administration isn’t deporting unaccompanied minors.

Biden asserted some youth will ultimately be deported. “The judgment has to be made whether or not—and in this young man’s case, he has a mom at home; there’s an overwhelming reason why he’d be put in a plane and flown back to his mom,” he said.

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3 Fully Vaccinated Hawaii Residents Test Positive for COVID-19

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Three Hawaii residents who were fully vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).

All three patients had received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, reported KITV4. They all experienced mild symptoms and did not appear to spread the disease to others, the DOH told the news station.

COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent infection, however they mitigate severe symptoms and lower the risk of hospitalization, health experts say.

One of the patients, an Oahu-based health care worker, received the second and final dose of the vaccine in January. The worker traveled to several U.S. cities about a month later, and tested positive following routine testing upon returning to Hawaii as per travel protocol.

Contract tracing hasn’t identified any additional infections among close contacts of the health care worker.

It isn’t clear which vaccines each of the three patients received.

Lt. Gov. of Hawaii, Josh Green, urged people not to be discouraged by the news, as the vaccines work “in a huge percentage of people.”

“Remember, 95 percent of people get immunity from the vaccines and five percent don’t from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine,” Green told news station KHON2.

“Some people are going to dive on to this and say, oh, then the vaccine doesn’t work. No, it does work. It works in a huge percentage of people, but not everyone and that’s an important message,” he added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who have previously been infected with COVID-19 should still get a vaccine.

“You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again,” the CDC says

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 on its website.

People who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma should wait 90 days before getting a vaccine, the agency added.

Another CDC webpage states that getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection or immunity.

“Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity,” it states. “COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.”

CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said that fully vaccinated people should not begin traveling.

“Related to spring break, they are not the demographic we’ve been focusing in on with regard to travel,” she told reporters at a press briefing, adding that even if fully vaccinated people travel, they “go out and they mix with people who are not vaccinated.”

“We’re so close to vaccinating so many other people, so I would just encourage and remind people that now is not the time to travel,” she said.

Hawaii’s health department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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