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October 21, 2021

Around the nation: Openly transgender health official Rachel Levine sworn in as four-star admiral

Daily Briefing

    U.S. assistant secretary for health, Rachel Levine, has been sworn in as the first openly transgender four-star admiral, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Maine, and New York.

    • District of Columbia: HHS on Tuesday announced that Rachel Levine was sworn in as a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which she currently leads as assistant secretary for health. Levine is the first female four-star admiral in the history of the corps and the first openly transgender person ever to become a four-star officer in any of the United States' uniformed services. "I'm doing this because of my dedication to service … [and] with the utmost respect and honor for the uniform that I will be wearing," she said. (Stolberg, New York Times, 10/19; Diamond, Washington Post, 10/19)
    • Maine: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to block a vaccine mandate that will require Maine health care workers to get vaccinated by Oct. 29. Notably, this is the first time the Supreme Court has taken action related to a statewide vaccine mandate, AP/Politico reports. Previously, the Court rejected challenges to mandates requiring vaccines for New York City teachers and staff and students at Indiana University. (Garfinkel, Axios, 10/19; AP/Politico, 10/19)
    • New York: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Wednesday announced that all city workers will be required to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Under the new mandate, workers will no longer have the alternative option to submit to regular testing instead of getting vaccinated. Most city workers must receive their first dose by Nov. 1, but uniformed correction officers have until Dec. 1 to comply due to a continued staffing crisis at the Riker's Island prison complex, the New York Times reports. According to de Blasio, "Our public employees are going to lead us out of the Covid era." (Fitzsimmons et al., New York Times, 10/20; Jeong et al., Washington Post, 10/20)

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