The COVID-19 Vaccination Is Here
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, joined other notable public officials and received the new COVID-19 vaccination on live television last week. Mr. Pence said, “I didn’t feel a thing,” praising the health care worker who delivered the first round of the vaccine. Another dose will be given in three weeks.
The vice president said he hopes that people will continue to wash hands and follow safety protocols as the virus spreads across the country. He also acknowledged that hospitalizations from COVID-19 and complications in conjunction with other chronic conditions such as asthma and heart and lung diseases continue to rise. However, Pence assured people the best way through the pandemic is “vigilance and a vaccine.”
Pence was tapped by President Trump when COVID-19 began to take a toll last year in the United States and worldwide. The Trump administration has been pushing for a vaccine since being altered by CDC director Robert Redfield. The vaccine program was led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent infectious disease control physician.
In his remarks afterward getting his shot, the vice-president said 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of the year.
“Good Deeds” Grocery in a Texas High School
One high school in North Texas came together and opened a grocery store for students and their families to lend a hand in trying times. But they don’t take money. Instead, they take good deeds. The small town of Sanger has one alternative high school: Linda Tutt High School, which has 30 students in grades 9-12.
They had an idea to help their fellow students and themselves and partnered with Texas Health, Albertsons, and First Refuge Ministries to create the store in an unused classroom. Principal Anthony Love explains how the store works and why:
“A lot of our students, they come from low socioeconomic families. It’s a way for students to earn the ability to shop for their families. Through hard work, you can earn points for positive office referrals. You can earn points for doing chores around the building or helping to clean.”
And it teaches the students about running a business, when to hold sales, how to price goods, and job responsibilities. Partners hope the concept catches on in other rural communities where needs are sometimes not met.
The Star of Wonder
For the first time in about 800 years, the rare “Christmas Star” will be visible around the globe. On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer to each other than they have since the 13th century – and scientists tell us it was predawn on March 4, 1226.
The star is two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, which will appear close to another at a visible separation of only 0.1 degrees – but in reality, they are still millions of miles away from one another. When this phenomenon occurs, it is called a conjunction.
The reason people call it the “Christmas Star” is that when the planets come together; it creates a shining light in the night sky that, when they’re lined up closely enough, looks like a single, bright star. Many believe it was this conjunction of planets that the wise men followed after the birth of Jesus.
Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer at Rice University, explains that if you can find the two planets leading up to December 21 – which is the date of the winter solstice – you can watch in near real-time. “You can watch [the planets] move, which is super cool because you’re actually seeing planets in orbit.”
People living near the Equator will have an easier time spotting the conjunction. Look to the western horizon on the 21st – and during several days after to experience the “Christmas Star” for yourself. They won’t be lined up this well and visible again for a very long time!