WeHo City to Host COVID-19 Vaccine Panel Discussion

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Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The City of West Hollywood will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Panel Discussion. The virtual event will take place on Tuesday, February 23 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Experts in the fields of medicine and public health will join members of the community who participated in vaccine clinical trials. This virtual event is free to attend. A link to the Zoom event, including a call-in number for those unable to join online, will be emailed to participants who are registered prior to the event.

To participate to register, visit: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_olNXKDPTTQuzGsH7oZrOSg.

The virtual panel will feature: Dr. Richard Riggs, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Teresa M. Dean, M.D. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Evan M. Zahn, M.D. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Paul Simon M.D., M.P.H., and Director of the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; as well as vaccine trial participants Karriann Farrell Hinds, Austin Cyr, and Amanda Laplen. The purpose of the panel is to provide information about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, to provide an update about the vaccine rollout in Los Angeles County, and to provide information about anticipated next steps during the coming months.

The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine brings hope to many people who have been struggling with this public health crisis for the past year. Experts predict that at least 75 percent to 85 percent of the population must get vaccinated to reach true herd immunity — the point at which most of the population is immune to the virus and it begins to subside. The vaccine rollout has been slow due to limited supply and the lack of a coordinated Federal plan from the former presidential administration. However, the Biden Administration has announced that enough doses of the vaccine have been secured to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people in the coming months, and appointments will start to open at a faster pace.

The Biden Administration has promised to drastically accelerate the vaccination rollout and to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are distributed equitably.  Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials are also committed to ensuring equitable distribution of the vaccine and have developed a phased system of tiers that details its vaccination plan. Los Angeles County is currently actively vaccinating healthcare workers, staff, and residents at skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities, and LA County residents who are 65 and older. It is anticipated that the next tier of this phase (Education and Childcare, Emergency Services, Food and Agriculture) will begin soon. After this tier, the State plans to transition to age-based eligibility, allowing California to scale up and down quickly, while ensuring vaccinations are distributed to disproportionately impacted communities.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be safe and very effective in large studies that involved a diverse mix of people. These vaccines are said to have 95 percent efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 disease. While the vaccine stops people from getting seriously ill, it is not yet clear if it stops them from spreading COVID-19 to other people. It is also not yet known how long immunity lasts. So, even if vaccinated, people must still wear a face covering, physically distance, and avoid gathering in large groups.

For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccine Panel Discussion, and to submit questions in advance, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Community & Legislative Affairs Supervisor Andi Lovano at (323) 848-6333 or at alovano@weho.org. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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