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HRC’s Alphonso David and the historic LA moment when everything changed

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Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David looked forward to this year’s Los Angeles Dinner. The nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization planned to honor the incredible Janelle Monáe and Dan Levy at their annual star-studded gala and David could finally meet in person so many longtime supporters, some of whom remember HRC when it was the Human Rights Campaign Fund, and revel in opening HRC’s first LA office.

In his first eight months since taking the job, David had already made an impression — being named #64 on City&State’s “2020 Law Power 100” as one of New York’s most politically powerful lawyers and as “the first civil rights lawyer and the first person of color to serve as president of the Human Rights Campaign in its 40-year history.”

The March 28 gala would also enable David to exalt in the organization’s rallying of LGBTQ voters. On March 9, six days after Super Tuesday and 19 days before the dinner, HRC released a “March Voter Snapshot” of LGBTQ voting power, including 11 million LGBTQ voters and 57 million “Equality Voters,” or LGBTQ allies.

“LGBTQ voters have shown up in record numbers in states across the country and cemented our status as a crucial constituency to court,” David said in a press release. “LGBTQ people and our allies are among the most politically engaged voters in the country, and Democratic presidential candidates are taking notice. LGBTQ and Equality Voters are fired up and ready to send the Trump-Pence administration packing.”

According to NBC News exit polling,Super Tuesday states, including California, brought out 4,339,000 LGBTQ voters and 21,153,000 Equality Voters, nearly doubling LGBTQ representation in the electorate.

“Los Angeles — and California generally — is a significant area in the country for us to engage and mobilize people and appreciate the importance of this election,” David told the Los Angeles Blade in an April 6 phone interview, including HRC-endorsed candidate Christy Smith in the CA 25th congressional race.

In addition to electoral politics, David intended to talk to the HRC/LA audience about “the importance of focusing on people who are multiply marginalized. I’m talking about someone who is black with HIV and lacks access to healthcare in the South. We’re talking about an immigrant who was thrown out of her country because she’s a lesbian and faces persecution in her country and seeks asylum here in the United States. I’m talking about an Asian boy, who was bullied at school, and is suffering from some other type of condition and doesn’t have any types of protection in his, or her, or their home state.”

And, David continues about his intended speech, “the black transgender woman who is afraid to walk home at night because she may face violence, be murdered, be attacked. That is in every single speech I’ve given. We launched the Transgender Justice Initiative, the first initiative that I launched when I took over as president of the Human Rights Campaign. I just hired a national director, Tori Cooper, who is a well-known activist from Atlanta.

She’s now moved to Washington, D.C., where she’s overseeing our entire program to make sure that we elevate members of the trans community and think about how we can address the crisis that is facing the transgender community.”

David underscores his point. “When I say people who are ‘multiply marginalized,’ that is a community that has faced so many obstacles over time and has persevered — but we need to do a lot more in order to address the systemic barriers that transgender people face,” says the HRC president.

“One of our biggest challenges: we have to think about how we can see ourselves in others who don’t look like us, because as a community we are incredibly diverse,” David says. “But unfortunately, those that are multiply marginalized don’t receive the resources, don’t receive the support that they should.”

And in the Trump/Pence era of division and destruction (see “Trump’s Timeline of Hate”), LGBTQ unity must succeed.

“In order for us to coalesce as a community, in order for us to win and sustain our wins, which is just as important, we need to come together as a community,” David says. “And the most effective way that we can do that is to focus on those who are multiple marginalized. There was an anecdote that someone raised with me a few years ago, which is, ‘If they’re coming for me today, they’re going to come for you tomorrow.’ As a community, I want to make sure that we take that principle, internalize that principle and use it to mobilize ourselves in order to advance our community to higher heights.”

Super Tuesday made community coalescing seem eminently possible.

But then came the novel coronavirus.

It snuck up on Americans who’d been told that COVID-19 was a new animal-to-human flu-like virus contained in a section of China, suddenly spreading rapidly through Italy, then Spain but not yet impacting the U.S. The Los Angeles Blade first reported on what was then considered the “low risk” for the coronavirus in California on Feb. 27, the first U.S. case for what became known as “community spread.”

Cautiously, business went on as usual as concern began to build.

Indeed, on Wednesday, March 11, HRC told the Blade that the LA gala was still on, though with extensive precautions and safety measures in place. Then the axe fell.

Later that day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that nearly 200 people in the state were now infected by the fast-moving COVID-19 for which humans had no built-in immunity and he prohibited gatherings of 250 people or even smaller if people couldn’t stay six feet apart as if that “social distancing” could stop the pandemic.

The next day, on March 12, 2020, the world as we knew it changed forever.

Los Angeles City and County officials held a joint news conference in which L.A. County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer reported a total of 32 coronavirus cases. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti opened on an optimistic note, then got serious, limiting gatherings to 50 people.

“Unlike the heroism we saw recently in the fires, [in this case] each one of us is a first responder,” Garcetti said.

“Coronavirus is here. Your actions can help us flatten that curve, literally buying us days and weeks to get to a moment when the virus is less of a threat.”

There was an instant cascade of cancellations, from NCAA’s March Madness  to Broadway shows. HRC signed onto an open letter from more than 100 organizations specifying how COVID-19 could impact LGBTQ communities with vulnerabilities and underlying medical conditions. For instance: 37% of LGBTQ adults smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people; 21% of LGBTQ people have asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people.

HRC cancelled everything, too. In a press release announcing the cancellations, David noted that HRC’s mission would continue.

“Our focus remains on the goal of advancing the rights of LGBTQ people around the world and on the defeat of Donald Trump and Mike Pence in November,” David said. “We will continue to work toward this goal, and weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before — by uniting as a community.”

One week later, on March 19, David wrote a letter to the community:

“The LGBTQ community has known adversity. In fact, we have drawn much of our strength and power from times of great uncertainty. From blatant discrimination to government indifference, from the AIDS crisis to relentless attacks on who we are and who we love, from bills attacking our transgender siblings to regulations removing protections that have existed for decades, we have seen our fair share of struggle.

 

But in each of these struggles, we have banded together to overcome challenges that seemed insurmountable. With your help, we have harnessed our fear and our anger and turned them into strength.

 

Now, we are living in an extraordinary moment yet again. As the world watches the spread of COVID-19, many of us, myself included, are concerned and afraid for ourselves and our loved ones. And that fear cannot be minimized. But it can be the basis for action. As we have time and again, we must raise our voices together to fight for our community, to lift each other up and to vote out those who are not protecting us.”

David noted that while COVID-19 affects everyone, it has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ people. And he gave stats: 40 percent of all industries that LGBTQ people work in are likely to be impacted by COVID-19, impacting 5 million LGBTQ people; a disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants (15%) compared to their non-LGBTQ peers (6%); and 17 percent of LGBTQ people lack health insurance. The aging population and folks with compromised immune systems are also at a greater risk of infection.

“This is an abnormal time amid an already abnormal few years. We can get through this. I know this, because we have gotten through crises before. But we cannot do it alone; we have to stand together,” David wrote. “Please be safe, please continue to wash your hands and please don’t give up.”

The next day, March 20, HRC published a research brief to provide policymakers and community advocates with some of that critical data on the health and economic risks LGBTQ people face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That research report highlighted that one out of five LGBTQ people live in poverty,” David says, adding that LGBTQ people face greater healthcare risks “from kidney disease to high blood pressure to, unfortunately, lack of access to healthcare.”

David has been on cable news and Twitter talking about the research data.

HRC has also produced a series of COVID-19-impact webinars: one primarily for black men with HIV; another with a medical physician who talked about the impact that COVID-19 may have on people who are living with HIV; another on older LGBTQ adults and another regarding child welfare organizations.

On March 23, HRC signed onto a coalition letter to congressional leaders about including and prioritizing the needs of the disability community in legislation being considered around COVID-19. HIV/AIDS is considered a disability in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We wanted to inform policymakers that when they develop solutions to COVID-19, we have to make sure that those solutions are thinking about the impact on LGBTQ people” and others, David says.

The “good news” is that “in some instances we’re seeing policymakers respond. We saw the recent stimulus package include $90 million, as an example, for HIV/AIDS care and treatment. It also included $65 million for housing for people living with AIDS. It also included $25 million for carrying out activities for runaway and homeless youth. And we know that 40% of those who are homeless classify as LGBTQ.”

However, “we need more because, unfortunately, the statistics are dire. One out of two black gay or bisexual men will get HIV in their lifetime and the issue isn’t so much within the COVID-19 crisis,” David says.

“It’s compounded by the fact that people are living with HIV but have lack of access to health care. And when you don’t have access to healthcare, and you have HIV and you’re susceptible to COVID-19, the numbers are just really frightening — the number of people that are going to be impacted and the implication for people of color in this country (Blacks have since emerged with alarming rates of the virus),” he says. “So, we have to continue being more vocal, and I’m being more vocal and making sure that our research is in the hands of every single policy maker throughout the country.”

But while it’s important to talk about people of color and marginalized communities, David notes that it’s another thing to “make sure that when we develop that policy, it has to be implemented in a nondiscriminatory way.”

“We know in 29 states in this country, there are no state laws that specifically protect LGBTQ people,” he says. So Congress could pass legislation appropriating money for HIV/AIDS or people who are homeless and those states could still deny LGBTQ people the resources they need.

Additionally, LGBTQ people may lack paid sick leave; or an LGBTQ young person could be sent home from school to face an abusive parent; an LGBTQ elder must choose between living alone in near poverty or going back into the closet to get into an anti-gay shelter.

“I want to make sure that’s not lost in the conversation,” David says. “I’m raising the alarm that please, please, please make sure that when you develop policy solutions, you are mindful of how these policy solutions should impact the LGBTQ community, because we are disproportionately impacted.”

Brian Brown, president of the almost defunct National Organization for Marriage (NOM), once infamous for pushing anti-gay Prop 8, has been turning those pleas for pro-LGBTQ policy solutions into fundraising scams.

“Some of the nation’s wealthiest and most powerful LGBT groups, including the grossly-misnamed Human Rights Campaign (HRC), have issued a demand of media, governmental and public health officials that the LGBT community be given special consideration in the nationwide response to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis,” Brown wrote in a recent fundraising email. “In light of what everyone is dealing with, it is more than a little off-putting that LGBT activists are demanding special considerations for their community.”

Then, wrote Brown — whose Prop 8 coalition included evangelical Creationists — “Large elements of their agenda, especially their incessant push for gender ideology, requires that people ignore science, yet it is science and accurate data that we need most in designing strategies to combat COVID-19.”

David transcends the invective, saying that while everyone is being impacted, some are being impacted more. “It’s not disregarding the impact that it’s having on others; it’s just appreciating the disproportionate impact that it’s having on us,” David says.

“I am doing well. I am healthy,” David says. “Every single member of the Human Rights Campaign is effectively working from home, and we are advancing all of our priorities remotely,” adding that all the staff are safe and healthy at this point, including board member Jodie Patterson, who contracted the virus but is now well.

HRC staff may be working from home but they still face the challenge of how to “actually get out and mobilize people to vote. Not only in California but making sure that we can get out of our comfort zones and speak to others outside of the places where we know people will vote for a pro-equality candidate. And it’s going to be a lot more complicated with COVID-19,” says David. “How can you engage in political organizing in a way that’s impactful and effective in the virtual space? We’re advancing a lot of different tools in the virtual space.”

The challenge goes deeper. Elections are a “meaningful tool” to achieving full equality,” David says. “But getting a pro-equality candidate into elected office in November, for me, is not the win. The win is sustaining that success over time.”

But for this moment, Alphonso David is more mindful of a shared humanity and history. “Please support your fellow LGBTQ members of our community,” he says. “We will get through this crisis. We’ve gone through crises before, and we are resilient, and we will get through this crisis together.”

Photos of Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David courtesy HRC or via his Facebook page.

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LA County requiring vax proof for indoor bars & nightclubs by Oct. 7

Participants and workers at outdoor “mega events” with more than 10,000 attendees must provide proof of vax or show a recent negative test

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that it will begin requiring verification of vaccination in select high-risk settings by October 7.

During a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the supervisors that vaccine verification will be required for customers and employees at indoor portions of bars, wineries, breweries, night clubs, and lounges.

The modified Health Officer Order would require customers and employees at bars, breweries, wineries, night clubs and lounges to have at least one dose of the vaccine by October 7 and both doses by November 4.

Public Health will require vaccination verification or a negative test within 72 hours prior to attending outdoor mega events. Participants and workers at outdoor “mega events” with more than 10,000 attendees must provide proof of vax or show a recent negative test.

Attendees at indoor mega events are already required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result prior to entry. 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials are prepared to move forward with the updated order later this week, Ferrer said.

“This modified health officer order aligns with the continued need to reduce risk for transmission and increase vaccination coverage,” Ferrer said. “This is a reasonable path forward that can position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges.”

She noted that while the health order won’t require it, Public Health will recommend that restaurants also begin verifying vaccination status for indoor dining.

“As evidence mounts affirming the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination mandates are an increasingly important tool to prevent future COVID surges that cause widespread suffering. The modified Health Officer Order aligns with the continued need to reduce risk for transmission and increase vaccination coverage; this is a reasonable path forward that can position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges,” Ferrer added.

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LAUSD to require vaccines- Biden lays out new plan to require vaccines

“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective & requiring students to be vaccinated is the strongest way to protect our school community.”

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Photo Credit: Los Angeles Unified School District

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Thursday that it will require for students 12 and older who are attending class in person to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The LAUSD Board of Education voted, 6-0, to pass the measure making it the first major school system, the second largest in the United States to require its more than 460,000 students, including some enrolled at independent charter schools located in LAUSD owned buildings, to be vaccinated.

Interim superintendent, Megan Reilly, said at Thursday’s board meeting that student vaccination was one way to ensure that the district’s classrooms would be able to remain open. Los Angeles had some of the country’s most extended school closures last year. All students ages 12 and up will be required to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 10, 2022, unless they have a “medical or other exemption,” Reilly noted.

The science is clear — vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19,” Reilly said in a statement following the vote. “The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and requiring eligible students to be vaccinated is the strongest way to protect our school community.”

New York Times educational journalist Dana Goldstein tweeted:

As the Delta variant brought another wave of COVID-19 infections this summer, in California the number of unvaccinated young people being hospitalized has increased in certain areas of the state.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health noted that while case rates increased among children in all age groups between mid-July and mid-August, cases have declined by about 30% in all age groups among children (0-4, 5-11, and 12-17 years old) over the past two weeks.

The decrease is similar to the decreases we are seeing in cases among adult residents and occurred as many schools reopened with testing, masking, infection control and outbreak management protocols in place.  Over the past week, children under 18 comprised, on average, 27% of all cases seen in L.A. County.

Among L.A. County teens 12 to 17 years old, more than half of whom are vaccinated, we see just how powerfully protective the vaccines really are. As of August 28, the case rate among unvaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds was 424 cases among every 100,000 unvaccinated children in this age group compared with 51 cases among 100,000 of those vaccinated.

Among groups ineligible for vaccination, the case rate was 130 per 100,000 children aged 0 to 4, and 230 per 100,000 children aged 5 to 11.

As of September 5, 62% of L.A. County residents 12 to 15 years old received at least one dose of vaccine, while 51% were fully vaccinated. Sixty-nine percent of residents 16 to 17 years old received at least one dose, and 59% were fully vaccinated.

In K-12 school settings countywide, between August 15 and September 7, 7,784 student cases and 1,250 staff cases were reported, with the vast majority occurring at LAUSD, which tests everyone weekly.

The second highest number of cases came from other K-12 schools in L.A. County. With more than 1.5 million students and 175,000 staff countywide (by last year’s counts), 0.5% of the student body and 0.7% of staff have become infected since school districts reopened.  This is slightly higher than the 0.4% rate of infection experienced overall in the County.

“We support the actions taken by the Los Angeles Unified School District and other schools and school districts to add an additional layer of protection at schools through a sensible school vaccine requirement for eligible students,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“Vaccination remains one of the quickest and most powerful ways to decrease community transmission and prevent serious illness, which helps keep students, teachers, and staff in school, and the COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective. Public Health will continue to work closely with school districts as they take critical actions to protect students and staff from a dangerous and highly infectious virus,” said Ferrer.

Battle over vaccinations and mask wearing has become so acrimonious in some parts of the country it is not unusual to see fistfights breaking out at school board meetings and law enforcement agencies effecting arrests as those who are adamantly opposed to coronavirus safety protocols protest, sometime violently, measures designed to protect the risk of infection by the COVID-19 virus.

As school boards weigh their options in implementation, in one highly publicized and now viral moment, anti-maskers in Rutherford County Schools in Tennessee at a school board meeting attacked a teen student who had lost a grandparent to the pandemic.

At the White House Thursday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation on his plans to implement plans to address the shortfall in the number of Americans who are vaccinated.

Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective, and free,” the President acknowledged. 

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.  And it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot

And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19.  Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they’re ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities.  This is totally unacceptable,” Biden argued. 

The President then took direct aim at officials and others who in his eyes who have blocked progress saying; “These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die.” 

President Joe Biden (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

Biden laid out the steps he was going to order to combat the lack of vaccinations in the nation.

I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this: United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and even Fox News,” he said.

He announced vaccination requirements for all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid and then expanded those requirements to include those who work in hospitals, home healthcare facilities, or other medical facilities –- a total of 17 million healthcare workers.

The President then said he would sign an executive order requiring all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated as well as another executive order that will require federal contractors to do the same.

As part of his plan Biden said that the Department of Labor will require employers with 100 or more workers to give those workers paid time off to get vaccinated.  “No one should lose pay in order to get vaccinated or take a loved one to get vaccinated,” he said.

The President then noted; “And my message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for?  What more do you need to see?  We’ve made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval.  Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot.”

We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.  And your refusal has cost all of us.  So, please, do the right thing.  But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, “If only I had gotten vaccinated.”  “If only,” he said. 

Biden also addressed the future availability of vaccines for children under 12 and schools.

Now, if you’re a parent of a young child, you’re wondering when will it be — when will it be — the vaccine available for them.  I strongly support an independent scientific review for vaccine uses for children under 12.  We can’t take shortcuts with that scientific work

Now to the schools.  We know that if schools follow the science and implement the safety measures — like testing, masking, adequate ventilation systems that we provided the money for, social distancing, and vaccinations — then children can be safe from COVID-19 in schools.

Today, about 90 percent of school staff and teachers are vaccinated.  We should get that to 100 percent.  […] And tonight, I’m calling on all governors to require vaccination for all teachers and staff.  Some already have done so, but we need more to step up,” Biden said.

The President castigated local and state officials he viewed as an impedimentg to winning the fight against the virus;

Let me be blunt.  My plan also takes on elected officials and states that are undermining you and these lifesaving actions.  Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs.  Talk about bullying in schools.  If they’ll not help — if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as President to get them out of the way. 

The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered.  Any teacher or school official whose pay is withheld for doing the right thing, we will have that pay restored by the federal government 100 percent.  I promise you I will have your back,” he stated.

Addressing the increasing violence against mask wearing and other simple measures Biden noted;

In addition to testing, we know masking helps stop the spread of COVID-19.  That’s why when I came into office, I required masks for all federal buildings and on federal lands, on airlines, and other modes of transportation,” he said.

Today — tonight, I’m announcing that the Transportation Safety Administration — the TSA — will double the fines on travelers that refuse to mask.  If you break the rules, be prepared to pay.  And, by the way, show some respect.  The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong; it’s ugly,” he added.

 







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Breakthru Delta Variant on rise in LA County as Pfizer gets full FDA okay

Last week Los Angeles County surpassed the grim milestone of losing more than 25,000 residents to COVID-19

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FDA Headquarters (Blade file photo)

LOS ANGELES – Numbers of fully vaccinated people being affected by breakthrough infections of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus are rising in Los Angeles County according to L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

The latest data “reflect the reality that the vaccines do not provide 100% protection, and that with these high rates of community transmission, more fully vaccinated people are getting post-vaccination infections,” Ferrer said. “However, this very same information also makes it clear how much protection vaccinated people still have. Most of us that are fully vaccinated don’t get infected.”

Among the 5.1 million L.A. County residents who are fully vaccinated, 0.53% have tested positive, 0.014% have been hospitalized and 0.0013% — or 68 people — have died.

On Monday the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 7 new deaths and 2,331 new cases of COVID-19. There are 1,722 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for nearly 7,940,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. The test positivity rate is 2.8%, (Monday) a slight decrease from last week’s same-day rate of 3.4%

It was announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the license for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for those 12 through 15 years old and for a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. The licensing approval was announced after another thorough evaluation of safety and effectiveness data by a panel of scientific and medical experts. FDA-approved vaccines undergo the agency’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products.

Last week Los Angeles County surpassed the grim milestone of losing more than 25,000 residents to COVID-19. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is one of the leading causes of death – surpassing stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Between July 11 and August 11, hospitalizations rose by 333% to an average of 1,622 beds filled with people testing positive for COVID-19 on any given day, and deaths rose 275% to an average of 15 deaths per day

As the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, Federal officials announced changes to vaccination strategies aimed at increasing the protection afforded to people by vaccines. With emerging data indicating that certain populations will need more support to be protected, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on August 13 recommended a third dose of mRNA vaccines for immunocompromised people, including transplant recipients, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, people actively receiving cancer treatment, and people taking immunosuppressive medications. 

Third doses have been available to eligible individuals at vaccination sites across LA County since Saturday.  Additionally, following yesterday’s announcement by the CDC that booster doses of mRNA vaccines will be offered to all vaccinated people, Public Health is continuing to work with staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities to prioritize these most vulnerable residents for booster doses to be prepared for administering these as soon as the Food and Drug Administration gives their approval.

Public Health notes the difference between third doses and booster doses is more than just language. Third doses are meant to elicit an antibody response where there was an inadequate antibody response before, while booster doses are meant to increase antibody levels that have waned after a robust increase in the months after vaccination.

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