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Morning Brief: The Vaccines, Explained

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A pharmacist from UCI Health preps a COVID-19 vaccine for injection. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

Earlier this week, five health care workers at Kaiser Permanente L.A. Medical Center were among the first people in California to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The injection they received was developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the biotechnology company BioNTech; another vaccine by the biotech company Moderna is expected to be authorized by the FDA before the coming weekend.

My colleague Jackie Fortiér explains what we know about these vaccines, and the plan to administer them here in L.A.

To begin with, there are few possible side effects to the vaccine, and they’re mild — mostly irritation at the injection site. You can’t contract the virus from the vaccine. And yes, you will still have to wear a mask and socially distance, even after being inoculated.

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Locally, health care workers and people in hospitals or assisted living facilities are first in line for the vaccine. From there, it’s likely that the next round will go to essential workers — those who have been delivering food, packages, emergency care and more this past year.

It’s not entirely clear who comes next, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested those with underlying medical conditions, and folks ages 65 and older.

We’ll keep reporting on the coronavirus vaccines as more information rolls in. In the meantime, keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.


What You Need To Know Today

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SoCal’s Coronavirus Catastrophe: ICU beds have run out for COVID-19 patients in L.A. County. Hospitals in Orange County have been ordered to stop diverting ambulances to other medical centers when their emergency rooms get too busy. Frontline and essential workers are calling for a four-week lockdown to reduce the virus’ surge. Mayor Eric Garcetti's 9-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19.

Money Matters: We dug into a question we’ve heard a lot: Why are film productions allowed to continue while the state closes down so many other industries?

Equality In Health Care: Some veteran advocates believe that suicide numbers for former service members are undercounted in L.A. County. A new center at UCLA aims to reach the LGBTQ+ community, and take a holistic approach to the health disparities it faces.

Policing Law Enforcement: L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva attended the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission meeting, marking the first time he's made an appearance since July 2019.

Wildfires: Climate change and forest management practices are well-known causes of massive wildfires, but there’s another culprit that’s often overlooked: air pollution.

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Here’s What To Do: Listen to Christmas ghost stories, do a pub crawl from home, learn to make tamales, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.


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Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that the Moderna vaccine is expected to be approved by the FDA before the coming weekend. It is expected to be authorized, not approved. LAist regrets the error.