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Morning Brief: Your Vaccine Questions, A Return To Elementary School, And Beachfront Drive-ins

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Signs painted on the windows of a coin laundry in South Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 30.

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 Dr. Annabelle de St. Maurice, an assistant professor of pediatrics and the co-chief infection prevention officer at UCLA/Mattel Children’s hospital. Here are some of the questions she got, and her answers (the conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

I know this isn't definitive, but it appears extremely unlikely that people who have been fully vaccinated will transfer the virus to someone who was unvaccinated.

Yes, it’s really great news. At the end of the day, what we want is to prevent our hospitalizations and deaths, and we know that the vaccines really do prevent that. But we also know that there are some people who might not be able to get vaccinated, so we want to be sure that those who are vaccinated aren't able to transmit the virus, or even have the virus in their nose or their respiratory tract.

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I'm a nursing mom, and I've been vaccinated. Are there any studies on whether the antibodies passed through to my infant or not?

Yes, actually, there's a very exciting study that just came out and was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology on this very subject. And they did see that there was immune transfer to their infants, both from the placenta and from breastfeeding. So this is all very good news.

I teach at a high school currently in a hybrid model, and it's looking to go back into full classroom population. Is it prudent for 15- to 18-year-olds to be in high density classrooms?

It really depends on the actions that the school is taking, whether or not they are spacing those high school students out, if they're requiring masks, if they looked at their air handling systems to make sure that they have been updated. All of these things need to be in place in order to make sure it's safe. But with following those precautions, that really does reduce the risk substantially.

On April 15th, vaccine eligibility will expand to everyone aged 16 and older. Do you have any advice on getting an appointment?

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My advice is that as soon as you get an appointment, just take it, regardless of which vaccine is being offered, unless you have an allergic contraindication to one of the vaccines. The other suggestion is, they are offering vaccines to [people] who volunteer at the vaccination sites. Some of the sites might have vaccines left over at the end of the day. You just have to talk to friends and family members and neighbors to figure out if they have any tips in your community, because it might really vary.

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

The Morning Brief newsletter is sent mornings Monday through Friday. Subscribe here.


What Else You Need To Know Today

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  • Days after USC announced an $852 million settlement to sexual abuse lawsuits against its former campus gynecologist, officials are worried about the impact of the news on Asian and Asian American students on campus.
  • Los Angeles County says it shouldn’t be a target of a big federal lawsuit over the local homelessness crisis.
  • Many elementary students in L.A. County will start returning to campuses this week.

Before You Go … This Week’s Outdoor Pick: Beachfront Drive-Ins

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A Rooftop Cinema Club outdoor drive-in. (Courtesy Rooftop Cinema Club)

The 36th edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival offers hybrid viewing, including beachfront drive-ins. The opening night film is Aaron Maurer's documentary Invisible Valley, which weaves together stories of undocumented farmworkers, wealthy snowbirds, and music festival-goers in the Coachella Valley.

Also happening this week: Amoeba Records returns. Magic Mountain reopens. A bunch of museums welcome visitors. The casts and creatives of Lovecraft Country, The Queen's Gambit and Ted Lasso lead PaleyFest LA. Trans and nonbinary authors discuss Shakespeare. The Easter Bunny brings pastel donuts. And more.

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