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Livestream event happening now: AirTalk LIVE: COVID Doctors Retrospective Larry Mantle and the AirTalk COVID doctors reflect on 3 years of living through a pandemic.

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Morning Brief: Your Vaccine Questions, Help With Rent, And Art Blooms In The Desert

Businesses for lease in Boyle Heights. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 8.

Every day, our newsroom’s call-in show, AirTalk, welcomes a physician to answer listeners’ questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Earlier this week, host Larry Mantle spoke with Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. Here are some of the questions she got, and her answers. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

In California, we’re seeing a gradual reopening of businesses, houses of worship, and other public spaces. How are you feeling about this?

I am very concerned, actually. I think that we're in very good shape right now, and I'm very pleased that there's enthusiasm about the vaccines. The faster we get more people vaccinated, the better off we'll be. But [the medical community is] very, very worried about what's happening on the East Coast and in Europe.

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It's possible that we could dodge that event because we have so much intrinsic disease in Southern California in particular, so many people have had Covid, and then so many people are getting vaccinated. But it's going to be a race to the finish here.

You have to be happy about the fact that we're about a week away from those 16 years of age and older being vaccine eligible.

Absolutely. We are close, I think, to getting on top of this pandemic in this country, but these variants are very worrisome. We know the vaccines hold up really well against the certain variants, but that could change if a more virulent variant emerges. But, right now, the vaccine seems very, very strong and very good. So the faster we get people vaccinated, the faster we can get on top of this.

I have two toddlers. They obviously are not going to be vaccinated for quite a while. How are parents of kids supposed to get back into the world if their kids aren't vaccinated?

Both Pfizer and Moderna are looking at vaccines in young children. Moderna is dropping it down to six months of age. That information will probably be available in the next few months. Children under five tend not to get very sick with the disease, although we do worry about this Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). So, I would still be cautious.

If you've been fully vaccinated, you get a comparatively mild case of COVID-19 after full vaccination. Is it possible to develop long haul symptoms?

That's an excellent question, and we don't know yet. We're just beginning to crack the surface a little bit on this [long haul] syndrome, which up to 30% of people who have COVID may develop. There has been anecdotal information that individuals who have long haul syndrome feel better after they've been vaccinated. It's as if the vaccines kind of reset things.

People that have had vaccinations and then get COVID, whether they're susceptible to long haul syndrome or not, we don't know.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … Desert X Takes Up Residence In Palm Springs

Nicholas Galanin’s “Never Forget” (John Horn/LAist)

It's not just wildflowers that bloom in California this time of year — it's also when massive art installations blossom across the Coachella Valley.

Every two years, a group of international artists creates a variety of site-specific works for Desert X in and around Palm Springs, many set against the massive wind farms that pepper the landscape. Many of this year's artists are making bold statements about women's rights, diversity, immigration, land use, indigenous communities and various political and historical issues tied to the valley.

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