May 17, 2021

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Friday, April 16, 2021 | California Healthline

Vaccine Appointments Snatched Up Like Hotcakes: California opened eligibility for the covid vaccine to all people 16 and older Thursday, but appointments in several regions, including Sacramento and San Diego, were filled quickly because of limited supplies. Health officials said appointments may remain relatively scarce, at least in the short term. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Sacramento Bee. Continued coverage, below.

Bill Could Help Some Workers Who Were Laid Off: Now that Gov. Gavin Newsom is letting more businesses reopen as coronavirus cases decline, the California Legislature on Thursday passed a bill requiring some hotels and other hospitality companies to offer laid-off workers their jobs back. Last year, Newsom vetoed a similar bill as too broad. Read more from AP.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.


CapRadio:
As California Expands Vaccine Eligibility, Some Counties Say Supply And Scheduling Still A Problem


Nine of California’s 58 counties haven’t signed onto the statewide vaccine distribution network, now operated by insurance company Blue Shield of California. Blue Shield has been tasked with recruiting hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and home health providers into the network, and then working with the state to determine where to allocate doses. The 400 providers and nearly 2,500 vaccination sites currently in the Blue Shield network will eventually be accessible through the state’s “My Turn” vaccination scheduling platform. Many counties initially expressed hesitancy about signing on, arguing that they could handle the roll-out more efficiently on their own. (Caiola, 4/15)


Southern California News Group:
‘Vax Day’ Launches In LA County, With 3.5 Million More Local Residents Seeking Their Shots 


Four months after coronavirus vaccinations began in California, eligibility expanded Thursday, April 15, to everyone in the state age 16 and over, signaling that future supplies can be counted on over coming weeks get shots into the arms of everyone in the state who wants one. Anyone living or working in L.A. County 16 and older can schedule vaccination appointments on the MyTurn website. Residents 16 and 17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, according to county officials, and should sign up at a site that offers this vaccine. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. (Evains and Wheeler, 4/15)


The Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Shortages, Postponements Mar First Day Of Wider Vaccine Eligibility


The first day of coronavirus vaccination eligibility for all Californians 16 and older appeared as grim as predicted for those attempting to make appointments in Sonoma County on Thursday, as the massive influx of newly qualified people — an estimated 123,000 in this county alone — overwhelmed websites used for scheduling still-limited shots. At the most inopportune time, the county received half of what it expected of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses. Also, dwindling Pfizer doses this week forced a Santa Rosa clinic that gets its supply from state and federal sources to postpone most Thursday appointments. (Barber, 4/15)


Sacramento Bee:
COVID Vaccine: Latest On Sacramento Supply, J&J Pause


California providers opened eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all ages 16 and older on Thursday. But limited supply allocations plus the continuing pause of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine may keep appointments relatively scarce in Sacramento, at least in the short term. Sacramento County officials on Thursday said the local health office and its partners will receive about 22,000 doses next week — up from about 20,000 this week, but fewer than the 30,000-plus delivered last week — that will be split roughly evenly between Pfizer and Moderna doses. No J&J shots will ship to California. (McGough, 4/15)


Fresno Bee:
Find A COVID Vaccine Appointment — And See How Many People In California Are Vaccinated


To date, about 16.1 million people in California have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. The data below offers an at-a-glance view of the current vaccination progress in the state and the country. Use the download button to save and share the information cards as images. The page will be updated daily. Vaccine appointment availability is updated every 30 minutes. (Albright, 4/15)


San Francisco Chronicle:
COVID Vaccine Hunters Say Bay Area Slots Are Going Quickly As ‘Open Season’ Arrives


Some COVID vaccine hunters have seen a significant drop in available appointments in the Bay Area as California expanded eligibility to everyone 16 and older Thursday. Bay Area engineer Mukesh Aggarwal said he has seen a roughly 75% drop in appointment availability this week across different providers compared to previous weeks. Aggarwal created a free channel on an app that helps residents find available vaccine slots. “I had to double check my [app’s] code to make sure that it didn’t break,” Aggarwal said. “So either providers have really low vaccines or demand is huge.” (Flores, 4/15)


Sacramento Bee:
SEIU Local 1000 Vaccine Clinic Books Up In Sacramento


California’s largest state employee union quickly booked the 1,350 vaccine appointments it offered through a pop-clinic starting Thursday in Sacramento. SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said she hopes to host more of the clinics. The union worked with the state Human Resources Department to secure doses and with Burlingame-based genetic testing company Color Health to administer shots, Walker said Thursday. (Venteicher, 4/15)


Los Angeles Times:
Riverside County Aims For COVID-19 Herd Immunity By Mid-June 


Riverside County could reach herd immunity against COVID-19 before June 15, the date California is aiming to fully reopen its economy, public health officials said. “We do believe we have the capacity and the vaccine supply to be able to do that,” Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung said at a Board of Supervisors meeting this week. (Seidman, 4/15)


San Diego Union-Tribune:
Project SAVE Helps The Most Vulnerable Communities Access The Vaccine 


More than 99 percent of the 65 and older population in South Bay have already received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. It’s an accomplishment Supervisor Nora Vargas credits in part to initiatives such as Project SAVE (Scheduling Assistance for Vaccine Equity), which began as a pilot program in February. (Mendoza, 4/15)


VC Star:
J&J Pause Triggers Concern About Vaccine Hesitancy In Ventura County


Jennifer Miller didn’t want a COVID-19 vaccine. The 50-year-old Ventura attorney worried about the lack of long-term studies on the safety of the inoculations and the possibility of lasting side effects. At the same time, Miller didn’t want to miss out on activities that may reopen only for those who have received their shots. So, she relented and received her first Pfizer-BioNTech dose Wednesday at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. “I feel it like I need it to live in California — to have a normal life,” Miller said after her inoculation. (Kisken, 4/15)


Los Angeles Times:
What’s Different About Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine That Might Explain Its Blood Clot Risk?


Why do some COVID-19 vaccines seem to pose a small risk of a rare type of blood clot and others don’t? Scientists suspect it’s related to the way the vaccines are designed. All three of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration — one from Pfizer and BioNTech, one from Moderna and one from Johnson & Johnson — teach the immune system to recognize the coronavirus without exposing the body to the real thing. (Kaplan, 4/15)


San Francisco Chronicle:
COVID Vaccine Side Effects: Does My Age Matter, And Should I Windmill My Arm?


The occurrence of side effects, including headache, fatigue and chills, varies from person to person, and some groups experience them more severely. Younger people and women in particular tend to have more side effects, experts say. With the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine on pause while officials investigate a rare clotting disorder reported in six women, the group newly eligible for vaccinations will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna version. They are both two-dose regimens, and the side effects after the second dose are typically stronger. (Hwang and Vainshtein, 4/15)


Bay Area News Group:
CDC Reports 5,800 Covid-19 Infections, 74 Deaths In Fully Vaccinated People


“No vaccine works 100% of the time, and there are many reasons for that,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Health. But failures are rare – and illnesses in vaccinated people are more likely to be mild than these in unprotected people, he said. Doctors call these “breakthrough” cases – borrowing a military phrase for an enemy’s offensive assault that penetrates beyond a defensive line. California hasn’t yet compiled the total number of cases, but is working with local health officers to collect the data, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Thursday. (Krieger, 4/15)


Sacramento Bee:
CA Tracking Breakthrough COVID Infections After Vaccination


As more and more Californians get their coronavirus shots, the state is trying to track cases of people who contract COVID-19 after they have been vaccinated, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday. “I’m waiting for that data,” Newsom said during a vaccination event in Alameda County. “As soon as I have it, I want to make it public.” (Bollag, 4/15)


Sacramento Bee:
Third Dangerous, Contagious Coronavirus Variant In Yolo


The UC Davis Genome Center has detected a more contagious variant of the coronavirus which first emerged in Brazil and has been identified in the test results of a person in Yolo County, officials announced Thursday afternoon. This is the first-known case identified in Yolo County of the P.1 variant of the coronavirus, according to a news release from Healthy Davis Together, a joint project between University of California, Davis and the city of Davis to prevent further spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. (Ahumada, 4/15)


The Mercury News:
Fremont Parents Threatening To Sue If Schools Don’t Reopen


A group of frustrated parents is threatening to sue Fremont’s school district if officials don’t meet their demand to reopen schools for in-person learning by April 26. The demand letter, sent by a law firm the parents hired, was delivered to the district on Wednesday —  two weeks after Fremont Unified School District Superintendent CJ Cammack announced schools would remain in distance learning for the rest of the school year after the district was unable to strike a deal with the teachers union for reopening plans. The district “has no rational or legal excuse to keep its students in distance learning, where they are lagging behind academically and suffering emotionally,” the letter from attorney Lee Andelin said. (Geha, 4/15)


San Francisco Chronicle:
Meet San Francisco’s Next Chief Medical Examiner


San Francisco City Administrator Carmen Chu on Thursday announced the appointment of UCSF-educated Dr. Christopher Liverman as the city’s next chief medical examiner, taking charge of a department beset by scandals and controversies over the past few years. Liverman, 41, will step into a role that has been left open since Dr. Michael Hunter left for another position in 2019, and has been filled by an acting director in the interim. Liverman will begin on May 3. “I am excited to join the dedicated medical examiner team in San Francisco,” Liverman said in a statement. “As the chief medical examiner, I have a duty to the community to ensure families can begin healing and achieve closure following the loss of loved ones.” (Cassidy, 4/15)


The Mercury News:
Santa Clara County: Officials Hope Child-Abuse Services Center Will Aid Victims


Starting Monday, children who have suffered sexual and physical abuse in Santa Clara County will no longer have to endure a gauntlet of scattered visits to get the help they need. The new Children’s Advocacy Center — located across from O’Connor Hospital in San Jose — geographically consolidates forensic exams and interviews, referrals to mental-health services, and appointments with police and victim advocates. Erin O’Brien, CEO of of the nonprofit Community Solutions, said the integration of resources in one location will ensure affected children and their families “are connected to ongoing services and support after they leave,” and minimize the need to repeatedly re-live their experiences under past frameworks. (Salonga, 4/16)


Orange County Register:
$5 Million Gift To Help UCI Integrative Health Program Study Cardiac Care


UC Irvine researchers and doctors will use a $5 million gift to further study how lifestyle changes and even the things people can learn about their bodies from the new tech they’re wearing can be integrated with standard medical care to improve outcomes for heart patients.
The gift from Linda and Mike Mussallem to the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute at UCI was announced this week. Mike Mussallem is CEO of Edwards Lifesciences, a leading manufacturer of replacement heart valves, and Linda Mussallem is on the board for the Integrative Health Institute. (McRea, 4/15)


Orange County Register:
New High-Tech Hoag Program Recruiting Trials For Breast, Prostate, Bone Marrow Cancers


Cancer cells have secrets. And Dr. Gary Ulaner aims to unlock them. Peering deep into the human body with a clarity traditional scans can’t match, molecular imaging can find tiny cancers that standard scans are blind to. The technology powering this uber-vision also can be harnessed to search out and destroy sneaky cancer cells where they hide — dangling the promise of more individualized and effective cancer treatments in the near future. (Sforza, 4/15)


Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento Homeless Describe Dangers Of River Camp At Night


Christina Qualls has been living in secluded homeless encampments along the American River in Sacramento for so long that she sees it as home, a familiar place of her own. That’s during the day. Her cheerful demeanor changes quickly as she describes what’s like to live in these remote encampments at night, forced to sleep in tents tucked under busy freeway overpasses and deep among the bushes and tall grass. She said it’s hard for anyone to find you if you need help. (Ahumada, 4/16)


San Francisco Chronicle:
You Should Worry About COVID, Not J&J Vaccine Side Effects


The blood clots suspected of a link with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine aren’t a one-in-a-million occurrence. As far as we know, they’re even rarer. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday based on reports of an unusual and dangerous kind of blood clot affecting just six American recipients out of a total of nearly 7 million. The coronavirus, by contrast, has caused more than 1,700 deaths per million Americans. (4/13)


Fresno Bee:
California Republicans Speak Out As Conservatives Remain Hesitant On COVID Vaccine


Ron Nehring is one of California’s most prominent Republicans, a veteran of countless battles against Democrats in a deep blue state. No one can credibly accuse Nehring — who served as chair of the California Republican Party from 2007 to 2011, was a spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign and supports the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom — of siding with liberals. Yet Nehring, who ran against Newsom in the 2014 race for lieutenant governor, agrees with the governor on one critical issue: vaccines. On Friday evening, Nehring took to Twitter with an impassioned plea for his fellow conservatives to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (Gil Duran, 4/14)


The Mercury News:
CSU Should Require COVID-19 Vaccinations For All Students


The California State University system requires all enrolled students to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella. Ditto for hepatitis B, chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. But now CSU has decided that it won’t require students returning this fall to its 23 campuses, including San Jose State and CSU East Bay, to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Say what? (4/16)


Times Of San Diego:
With Virus In Retreat, California Must Aid Businesses That Followed The Health Rules 


Looking back on life before the coronavirus pandemic can feel otherworldly. The day-to-day routine we all were used to just a year ago has been turned completely on its head after long months of social distancing, mask-wearing, and family gatherings held over video chats. With vaccines finally making their way to high-risk patients, though, it feels like there may at last be an end in sight. This sense of hope truly burst forth when Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the statewide stay-at-home order that had been in place. (Christian Garcia, 4/13)


Voice of OC:
Will Orange County’s Covid Dead Ever Be Memorialized?


Sandra Fox was a fighter. Norberto Santana, Jr. As a reporter, one of the great joys of the job over the years has always been the amazing and inspiring privilege of meeting people like Sandra. She was a county worker who turned into a labor activist — not by choice, but because she saw a need to stand up to her bosses against unsafe working conditions and how taxpayer money could be better spent. These kinds of people stand up. (Norberto Santana Jr., 4/13)


California Health Report:
Why California Should Expand Health Coverage To Undocumented Seniors


Health equity and immigrant rights advocates have been urging California leaders to broaden health coverage for nearly a decade. Health4All began in earnest in 2013 when advocates first introduced legislation designed to expand Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants in California. Medi-Cal is California’s low-income health insurance program. Then in 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 75 into law, expanding Medi-Cal access to undocumented children under 18 in the Golden State. And in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded Medi-Cal coverage further to young adults up to age 25, regardless of immigration status. (Denzel Tongue, 4/12)


Sacramento Bee:
CA’s Undocumented Immigrant Adults Deserve Health Care 


California’s economy depends on the labor of undocumented immigrants. They do some of the hardest and most dangerous jobs for the lowest rates of pay. Their labor contributes billions of dollars to the economy and undergirds entire sectors, like agriculture, which would be impossible to sustain without them. Undocumented immigrants also pay billions of dollars in taxes every year. (4/13)


CalMatters:
Educational Lapses In CA Schools Will Affect Students For Decades


A comprehensive history of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on California would surely conclude that the state’s school children have been treated shamefully. The incessant political squabbling over closing and reopening schools and the sporadic efforts at in-home learning have once again demonstrated that the supposed adults who manage and operate public education in California are more focused on their own interests than on the well-being of students. (Dan Walters, 4/11)


The Mercury News:
During Pandemic, High School Sports Trumps Classroom Learning


As a parent of a disabled child and a longtime advocate for the welfare of children, I’ve grown accustomed to an education and political system that too often fails to live up to its responsibilities for serving the most vulnerable. But that didn’t prepare me for the catastrophic failure that has occurred over the past year. Even after evidence grew that schools could operate safely during the pandemic with proper mitigation measures, there continued to be no urgency by educational leaders and teachers’ unions at the local and state levels to get our most vulnerable children back to school. (Craig Lazzeretti, 4/13)


Los Angeles Times:
The Right To An Abortion Means The Right To Have It For Any Reason 


A constitutional right to an abortion means a right to have one for any reason. That should also mean a woman can elect to tell her doctor — or not — why she wants an abortion. But that’s not what is happening in Ohio, where the state Legislature in 2017 passed a ban on doctors performing abortions when they know the woman is seeking one because her fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or is suspected of having it. The law also made it a felony for doctors to defy the law. (4/16)


Los Angeles Times:
Fight Gun Violence Like Cancer, One Step At A Time


While COVID-19 has dominated our public health discussions over the last year, we have failed to adequately address another deadly epidemic. This epidemic affects more than 300 people every day in the United States and has a fatality rate of about 30%. It claims the lives of more than 3,000 American children and teens per year. This uniquely American epidemic is one of gun violence. (Michelle Au, 4/14)


Voice of San Diego:
This Is San Diego’s Moment For A Homelessness Moonshot


On the rainy Monday morning of March 15, Rodney Diffendal, Randy Ferris and Walter Jones were killed when a driver plowed onto a sidewalk where the three unhoused victims and others sought refuge from the weather. The tragedy was a forceful reminder of the constant vulnerabilities our unsheltered neighbors are exposed to. Exactly one month later, we must ask ourselves what we have done and what are we doing to avoid similar tragedies in the future. The simple answer to that question is: not enough. (Sean Elo-Rivera, 4/15)


The Bakersfield Californian:
It’s Dangerous To Ignore Vitamin K2 


Some vitamins don’t get the attention they deserve. Ask anyone about vitamin K2 and few people can give an answer. In “Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient for Heart and Bone Health,” Dr. Dennis Goodman says ignoring vitamin K2 can be dangerous. So here are some important points to help you understand why K2 needs more attention. In 1929, Dr. Hendrik Dam, a Danish scientist, discovered vitamin K. Now we know there are two types of K: K1 and K2. Most people get sufficient amounts of K1 by eating leafy green vegetables, rich in this vitamin. If you’re cut, K1 plays a role in blood clotting. (Dr. W. Gifford-Jones and Diana Gifford-Jones, 4/15)