News Mash-up: Vaccines and Masks

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. infection / ɪnˈfɛk ʃən / (n.) – the process of causing or catching a disease

    Scientists are trying to figure out the source of the infection so they can stop others from getting sick.

  2. front-line worker / ˈfrʌnt-laɪn ˈwɜrkər / (n.) – an employee who directly interacts with people to provide important products or services such as food or healthcare

    Some stores now offer discounts for front-line workers to say thank you for their hard work.

  3. rollout / ˈroʊlˌaʊt / (n.) – the introduction of a new product or service

    The rollout of our new beauty product line is scheduled for next month.

  4. dearth / dɜrθ / (n.) – a state of not having enough of something that people want or need

    The lack of rain this year is causing a dearth of water in the region.

  5. blood clot / blʌd klɑt / (n.) – a thick mass of dried blood that may stop the flow of blood to other parts of the body

    The doctors are afraid that the blood clot in her leg may move to her lungs.


Read the text below.

Walmart mandates vaccine for managerial workers, brings back masks in stores

Workers at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4, the retailer said on July 31. Walmart managers also must be vaccinated if they travel within the United States.

The company is also reversing its mask policy for Walmart employees in stores, clubs, distribution facilities and warehouses. Those workers will have to wear masks in areas with high infection rates. The new mask policy is for both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.

Walmart said it hopes these policies will help convince more of its workers to get the shot in the arm.

The vaccine mandate doesn’t apply to front-line workers. Such workers have a lower vaccination rate than managerial staff.

However, Walmart will pay front-line staff $150 (¥16,500) to get the shot. This is double the previous amount. (AP)

Health ministry approves AstraZeneca vaccine

A health ministry panel on July 30 approved AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine for people age 40 and over, with Japan aiming to accelerate its rollout of shots amid a dearth of supplies among some local governments and a surge in new cases.

The vaccine obtained the health ministry’s approval for emergency use in late May, but it was not immediately used because the government had been weighing whether to place age restrictions on it following reports of very rare blood clots overseas.  (The Japan Times)

These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Workers at Walmart’s headquarters must be vaccinated by October 4. Do you think companies have the right to require their employees to get vaccinated? Do you know any companies in your area that made it a requirement? Discuss.
  • Walmart also reversed its mask policy and decided to require masks for workers in areas with high infection rates. Some people are upset about the ever-changing policies for Covid-19, while others feel that it’s only natural to change policies after getting more data. How do you feel? Have Covid-19 policies changed in your area much? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Currently, Japan has only approved three vaccine brands, but the country has been dealing with a dearth of supplies among some local governments. Do you think Japan should consider approving more vaccine brands used in other countries? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • There have been reports of very rare blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine overseas. In your opinion, who should take responsibility if someone develops serious side effects from a vaccine (ex. the manufacturer, the government)? Why? Discuss.