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Morning Brief: The One-Shot Vaccine, #OscarsSoWhite’s Legacy, And School Reopening

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An American flag waves over an intersection in downtown Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 1.

Over the weekend, the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccine, which was tested in the U.S., South America and South Africa, protects recipients against contracting the virus, and against the virus becoming severe if contracted. It doesn’t have the same rates of effectiveness as the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, but according to Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA's advisory panel, it’s “very effective” at inducing an immune response.

"This certainly provides protection against what you care about, which is hospitalization, ICU admission, and death,” he said. “It's virtually 100% effective at doing that."

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Gov. Gavin Newsom said California could get up to 380,000 doses of the newly-approved vaccine this week. L.A. County will likely get one-quarter of whatever the state receives, according to Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, since it’s home to one-quarter of the state’s population.

Ferrer added that those additional shots will be a boon to the region’s plan to expand vaccine eligibility to teachers, school staff, child care providers, and more emergency service workers, which starts today.

"It couldn't come at a better time,” she said.

As of Friday, almost two million Angelenos have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Newsom announced last week that he expects the state’s supply to increase steadily week-by-week, which would trickle down to all 58 counties, including L.A.

That increase is coupled with a massive drop in cases in the area; as of late February, cases were down 90% from the post-holiday surge. When those numbers were announced, Ferrer made a point to emphasize that they were the result of deliberate, conscious actions taken by everyone in the community.

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"This wasn't a miracle,” she said. “The significant drop in our case numbers reflects actions and choices taken by millions of residents, workers, and employers."

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


What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The union that represents 33,000 L.A.-based teachers and school staff is pushing back against the L.A. Unified School District’s attempt to reopen schools on April 9.
  • California’s landmark law to ban internet providers from slowing down or blocking access is going into effect.
  • Several California lawmakers are considering a bill that would limit sprawl in wildfire-prone areas.
  • Riverside County is seeing a drop in the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus.
  • The City of Santa Monica opened a new community park, which includes a brand new public art installation that explains the site's history as a once-thriving African American community.
  • The LAPD has launched a hate crime investigation after the Higashi Honganji Buddist Temple in Little Tokyo was vandalized.
  • Fred Segal, the innovative fashion retailer who sold an iconic California casual look, died Thursday in Santa Monica. He was 87.

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Before You Go … The Creator Of #OscarsSoWhite Reflects On Her Legacy

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April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite movement, poses for AFP during a photo session in Hollywood, California, on Feb. 1, 2020. An offhand tweet by Reign following the 2015 Oscar nominations announcement and her realization that all 20 actors were white went viral. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

In January 2015, activist April Reign created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite — calling out the awards ceremony for its lack of diversity. She unexpectedly launched a viral referendum on the disparities and inequities experienced by Blacks and other minorities in Hollywood.

Six years later, what's changed, what hasn't and where does Hollywood go from here? April Reign spoke with LAist about the legacy of her viral hashtag.


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