As questions about vaccines now dominate news briefings on the pandemic the recent Ethnic Media Services briefing discussed everything from where to go and how to get vaccinated to when the newest J&J vaccine will be available, how it will impact the supply of vaccines, how the county is targeting under-served and hardest-hit communities, what challenges lie ahead.
In her opening statement, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County’s Second District, acknowledged the diversity of the county. LA county she said is moving to the red tier allowing many services to reopen. With a sense of normalcy, the county can reopen indoor dining, movie theatres, and schools with limited capacity.
There are small business opportunities benefiting communities of color in Covid 19 at mitchell.lacounty.gov. Other resources include support with wage subsidization tax credit and grants the county is offering a low-cost supply of PPE offering for free for 30day supply to businesses with 100 or fewer employees called PPE Unite. To sign up go to https://www.ppeunite.org/.
The county also has small business stabilization loan programs which can be used as working capital, equipment, or refinancing. Submit by April 26, 2021, at https://bizstabilization.lacda.org/ or call 626-586-1550.
The American Rescue Plan will offer additional relief to small businesses most in need.
Equitable vaccinations are important and the county is working hard to make sure that communities of color have access to vaccines so they can return to work safely. Even though the county has reached red-tier it is thanks to social distancing, mask-wearing, and proper sanitizing. We must continue to protect our communities of color during this time.
Dr. Muntu Davis MD, MPH, Health Officer, LA County Dept of Public Health gave updates on the pandemic. Having administered over 2milliion doses of vaccines to people in the most under-served communities the county is entering red-tier status. The following can begin reopening on limited capacity:
- museums,zoos and aquariums
- gyms, fitness centers, yoga, and dance studios
- movie theaters
- retail and personal care
- indoor shopping malls
- institutes of higher education
- schools for in-person instruction from 7-12grade
- private gatherings
There is still substantial transmission of covid-19 in LA Count and we must continue good practices:
- outdoors are safer
- wear masks
- maintain physical distance
- if exposed or have symptoms, get tested
- get vaccinated when it’s your turn
Dr. Sarah Lopez, DHS Patient Safety Officer, Harbor UCLA Medical Center shared her harrowing health story and how we can all learn from her. She shared slides of herself fighting this unknown virus, her diagnosis with breast cancer, and aggressive treatment to taking the vaccine to save her life. She said taking the vaccine changed her life as she can now be with her family. At first, she was worried about her immune system due to her condition. There are 4 types of vaccines and Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson are offering options.
Pfizer and Moderna offer two shots virus inactivated vaccines which are 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Johnson & Johnson offers a one-shot viral vector vaccine which is also 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death.
Fear of dying from vaccines is not true as zero people have died from the vaccine who came with covid. We need herd immunity which means we will not be able to spread the virus if 50% of people get the vaccine.
Jim Mangia, President, and CEO of St. John’s Well Child & Family Center shared his experience with the pandemic inequity in the communities served. Lack of PPE, Tests, etc They were however later able to negotiate with a local lab and are now 1000 a day. they saw incredible suffering and infection rates with essential workers, factories, warehouses who took viruses to their families or lost jobs, homes, etc.