California health officials are asking vaccine providers to stop administering a batch of Moderna’s Covid-19 jab, after an unusually high number of adverse reactions were linked to the drug.
Doses from Moderna Lot 041L20A are suspected of causing a “higher-than-usual number of adverse events” and should be shelved until a proper investigation can be conducted, the California Department of Public Health said on Sunday.
State epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan said in a statement that “fewer than 10 individuals” suffered “a possible severe allergic reaction” and required medical attention over the past 24 hours after being injected with the specific batch of vaccine. All of the incidents appear to have occurred at a single community clinic that was administering the lot. The site reportedly closed for several hours after the string of adverse reactions occurred, before switching to a different batch of the drug.
A second California hospital has been busted for giving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to its employees’ relatives — instead of using the doses for the elderly or frontline workers.
Southern California Hospital allowed its workers to invite relatives to get vaccinated — just as another area hospital did last week, sparking criticism.
“The hospital had planned on vaccinating all of their employees, but a large number of their staff declined and they were sitting on a lot of thawed vaccines,” a woman vaccinated at Southern California Hospital told the Orange County Register. “‘They offered police officers, firefighters and first-responders to get vaccinated and also told employees they could invite four family members.”
Earlier this year, the governing board of one of California’s most powerful regulatory agencies unleashed troubling accusations against its top employee.
Commissioners with the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, accused Executive Director Alice Stebbins of violating state personnel rules by hiring former colleagues without proper qualifications. They said the agency chief misled the public by asserting that as much as $200 million was missing from accounts intended to fund programs for the state’s blind, deaf and poor. At a hearing in August, Commission President Marybel Batjer said that Stebbins had discredited the CPUC.
“You took a series of actions over the course of several years that calls into question your integrity,” Batjer told Stebbins, who joined the agency in 2018. Those actions, she said, “cause us to have to consider whether you can continue to serve as the leader of this agency.”
The five commissioners voted unanimously to terminate Stebbins, who had worked as an auditor and budget analyst for different state agencies for more than 30 years.
But an investigation by the Bay City News Foundation and ProPublica has found that Stebbins was right about the missing money.
This week a Los Angeles County judge ruled that a local ban on outdoor dining at restaurants, ostensibly aimed at reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus, was “not grounded in science, evidence, or logic.” Around the same time, California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly admitted that the same thing is true of a state ban on outdoor dining that currently applies to all of Southern California, including Los Angeles County. Ghaly said that ban, which is one of many restrictions that are triggered when a region’s available ICU capacity drops below 15 percent, is “not a comment on the relative safety of outdoor dining” but is instead aimed at discouraging Californians from leaving home.
“The decision to include, among other sectors, outdoor dining and limiting that, turning to restaurants to deliver and provide takeout options instead, really has to do with the goal of trying to keep people at home,” Ghaly said during a briefing on Tuesday. He noted that “we have worked hard with that industry to create safer ways for outdoor dining to happen.”
LAST MONTH, California Gov. Gavin Newsom was caught violating his own warnings against multiple households dining together indoors. The Democratic governor was spotted at the French Laundry, an exclusive restaurant north of San Francisco, where he was celebrating the birthday of longtime friend Jason Kinney.
The dinner controversy was more than just an opulent display of political double standards — it also highlighted the backroom efforts to maintain special treatment during the pandemic. Kinney, a veteran political operative, is a lobbyist for a number of interests seeking to shape the rules governing life under the pandemic, including what kind of economic activities are deemed essential in order to stay in business.
The inside track may have paid off. One of Kinney’s clients, Netflix, has been allowed to continue to operate during the latest round of forced closures that began last week as intensive care hospital capacity has dwindled across the state.
The entertainment industry has been given extensive leeway to operate during the pandemic, even as California now faces a stay-at-home order. The state has deemed the television and movie production industry as “critical infrastructure” and has allowed Hollywood studios to continue filming projects, including in Los Angeles, which is facing the most strict lockdown order.
Two megachurches decided to open Sunday services with some safe-for-work joke stripteases, in a cheeky protest against California’s closing down of churches due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while letting strip clubs stay open.
Before the start of Sunday’s sermon, pastors at two churches opened with short burlesque dance routines, taking off their jackets and even throwing their ties into the cheering audience.
“Strip clubs (Not Churches) are exempt from the Covid lockdowns, and are deemed essential by our governor!” said senior pastor of Awaken Church Jurgen Matthesius on Instagram. “So we decided we are NOW Awaken family friendly strip club!” he quipped.
The pastor then rolled with the joke, clarifying, “we strip the devil of his hold, power & authority over people’s lives!”
Los Angeles County is suspending outdoor dining for the foreseeable future as coronavirus cases surge in the region and across the country.
The order from the public health department will force restaurants, wineries and breweries into a takeout and delivery-only model for the first time since May. It will remain in effect for at least three weeks, though it could last longer.
If cases keep rising, the county will impose even stricter rules, including a “targeted” stay-at-home order for three weeks. Residents are currently urged to stay home as much as possible.
Public health officials made the announcement on Sunday, and the order will be effective on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of getting caught red-handed violating his own travel and gathering restrictions, California Governor Gavin Newsom has exempted an entire industry’s workforce from those restrictions citing them as “essential workers.” But are they, really?
Newsom was recently forced to eat crow after attending a friend and political adviser’s 50th birthday party at a swank, upscale Napa County restaurant for a $400 a plate dinner. Newsom apologized after being publicly humiliated by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Astoundingly, Newsom then refused to intervene when many in his own State Legislature opted to attend a summit produced by a San Diego firm that violated the travel ban in place to host the summit in Maui, Hawaii.
Newsom has issued a new round of COVID-related restrictions, including a stay-at-home order, a curfew, limiting the size of private venue gatherings, and travel bans.
However, for some unknown and suspicious reason, the whole of the entertainment industry is exempted from the restrictions, covered under Newsom’s exemptions clause.