July 5, 2022

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Monday, June 13, 2022 | California Healthline

When Will Covid Shots Arrive For Under-5s In Bay Area?: The first shipments of covid vaccine for children under age 5 are expected to arrive within days in the Bay Area, local health officials and providers said, and shots could start going into little arms as soon as June 21, pending federal authorization. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area News Group. Scroll down for more on the vaccine rollout.

Bonta Urges FDA To Ban Synthetic Nicotine Products: Looking to address the teen vaping crisis, California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Friday joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in calling on the FDA to ban synthetic nicotine products. “Manufacturers [are] using fun flavors and attractive marketing to addict a new generation to nicotine,” Bonta said in a statement. Read more from The Sacramento Bee.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

Overworked California Firefighters Struggle With PTSD, Suicide

For firefighters battling California wildfires, these emotional injuries are a workplace hazard. Longer and more intense fire seasons have taken a visible toll on the state, leaving a tableau of charred forests and flattened towns. But they’ve also fueled a silent mental health crisis, including an alarming rise in post-traumatic stress disorder among the ranks of Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting service. … But when they race into wildfires, it’s not just their bodies that are at risk, but their psyches, too. Wildland firefighters arguably face more psychological stress than most, since their battles are prolonged and their personal risks are high. (Cart, 6/13)

Becker’s Hospital Review:
Seton Nurses In California Plan 2-Day Strike

Nurses at AHMC Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., plan to strike June 22-23, according to the union that represents them. The California Nurses Association represents 300 nurses at Seton. Its members issued a 10-day notice to the hospital June 12 to inform the hospital about the planned two-day strike, according to a union news release. If nurses strike as planned, it would be the second time they went on strike this year. The nurses went on strike in March. (Gooch, 6/13)

Becker’s Hospital Review:
Palomar Health Workers In California Authorize Strike

Registered nurses and caregivers at Palomar Health in Escondido and Poway, Calif., have voted to authorize a strike, according to the unions that represent them. The California Nurses Association, an affiliate of National Nurses United, represents about 1,300 registered nurses at Palomar Health hospitals. The Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union, an affiliate of CNA, represents about 1,700 ancillary caregivers. (Gooch, 6/10)

Burnout-Prevention Programs Aim To Help Medical Workers

Vigil-Calderon is among many medical students and health care workers who have dealt with burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two private universities in California, Touro and Oakland’s Samuel Merritt University, hope to help. They received three-year federal grants —  worth $2 million at Samuel Merritt and about $1.6 million at Touro — to create burnout-prevention programs, part of a $103 million nationwide effort to retain more health care workers. Solutions are urgently needed: The U.S. is projected to face a shortage of as many as 139,000 physicians by 2033, particularly in primary care, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. (Dubose-Morris and Murphy, 6/10)

Bay Area News Group:
Livermore Puts $2.4 Million Toward Drug Treatment Facility

The city will loan $2.4 million to a nonprofit to buy a former Livermore church, with the goal of turning it into the Tri-Valley’s first inpatient drug addiction treatment and counseling facility for unsheltered people and those earning low incomes. While the timeline to convert the church into such a facility is still unclear, officials say it is badly needed in the eastern part of Alameda County, where there is a dearth of drug treatment options for people who can’t afford to pay private sobering centers, or for those without top-flight health insurance. (Geha, 6/12)

Oakland’s Psychedelic Mushroom Church Makes A Cautious Return

Smoke twirls from the lips of a man with a long beard and metal-framed glasses, who is dressed like the Pope with a psychedelic twist: embroidered gold hemp leaves decorate his cloak, and mushrooms adorn his stole. Dave Hodges is the pastor, preacher, and founder of Zide Door, a nondenominational and interfaith church in Oakland where religious practice centers on the use of natural hallucinogens known as entheogens—mainly, mushrooms containing the psychoactive chemical psilocybin. For Hodges, “Mushrooms are the origin of all religion.” (De La Torre, 6/10)

Sacramento Bee:
Homelessness Ranks As Top Priority For Sacramento County’s Leading Sheriff And DA Candidates

When the final votes are counted in Sacramento’s 2022 primary election, residents can be certain of one thing: the region will have new law enforcement leaders and new policies at two of California’s largest criminal justice agencies for the first time in eight years. Early results show veteran prosecutor Thien Ho is far ahead in the race to replace District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and become Sacramento’s first D.A. of color, and Assemblyman Jim Cooper is ahead in his bid to become Sacramento’s first Black sheriff. … “The first priority is going to be focusing on the homeless crisis,” Ho said in an interview the day after Tuesday’s primary voting. (Stanton, 6/12)

Los Angeles Times:
A Computer Model Predicts Who Will Become Homeless In L.A. Then These Workers Step In

When her phone rang in February, Mashawn Cross was skeptical of the gentle voice offering help at the end of the line. “You said you do what? And you’re with who?” the 52-year-old recalled saying. Cross, who wasn’t working because of her ailing back and knees, was scraping by on roughly $200 a month in aid plus whatever she could make from recycling bottles and cans. Her gas and electric bills were chewing up her checks. She had been in and out of the emergency room, her doctor said she might have to get a colostomy bag, and depression was bedeviling her day by day. (Reyes, 6/12)

San Diego Police Increase Homeless Arrests As Shelters Grow

So far this year, San Diego police have made eight times as many arrests for encroachment and illegal lodging — infractions largely directed at homeless people — compared to the same time last year, according to data inewsource obtained. In fact, the number of arrests for these crimes so far has exceeded the total for all of last year. (Dulaney and Dawson, 6/10)

Los Angeles Times:
Senators Reach Bipartisan Framework On Gun Legislation

A bipartisan group of senators on Sunday announced it had reached a framework for enacting modest gun restrictions, such as closing loopholes and increasing background checks for gun purchases by people between ages 18 and 21, in response to a recent spate of mass shootings that included a massacre at a Texas elementary school. If enacted and signed by President Biden, the measure would become the most significant piece of firearms legislation produced by Congress in nearly three decades. The group of 20 senators, led by Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), said it had struck a deal “to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across the country.” (McCaskill and Haberkorn, 6/12)

Senate Negotiators Announce A Deal On Guns, Breaking Logjam

Senate bargainers on Sunday announced the framework of a bipartisan response to last month’s mass shootings, a noteworthy but limited breakthrough offering modest gun curbs and stepped-up efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs. The proposal falls far short of tougher steps long sought by President Joe Biden and many Democrats. Even so, the accord was embraced by Biden and enactment would signal a significant turnabout after years of gun massacres that have yielded little but stalemate in Congress. (Fram, 6/12)

Roll Call:
Bipartisan Senate Group Strikes Gun Deal Focused On School Safety, Mental Health

The American Firearms Association condemned the agreement, saying Republican senators had betrayed gun owners. “Republican senators were elected to stand up for our Constitutional rights, not sell them out to gun-grabbing Marxists,” the organization said in a statement. “The solution to gun violence is not gun control. It’s protecting our right to defend ourselves when the police are unable or refuse to do so, as we saw in Uvalde.” (Lesniewski, 6/12)

San Diego Union-Tribune:
San Diego Health Systems Assess Security In Wake Of Tulsa Shooting 

A patient who was angry about back pain entered a Tulsa medical office building on June 1, determined to kill his surgeon and, officers later said, “anyone who got in his way,” a mindset that ultimately killed four people. Ten days later, the implications of the incident continue to reverberate across medicine, at a time when tensions are already running high due to the coronavirus pandemic. For more than a year now, health care workers have reported friction with patients who have sometimes refused to wear masks, reacted violently to positive test results and protested outside hospitals over government vaccination mandates. (Sisson, 6/12)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Dozens Of Firearms Surrendered In Oakland Gun Buyback Event

On Saturday, the Oakland Police Department successfully collected dozens of firearms at a gun buyback event. The Guns to Gardens initiative, in partnership with a number of community organizations, resulted in 131 pistols, shotguns, rifles, an AK-47 and a Thompson submachine gun, a.k.a. a “Tommy gun” surrendered, according to an OPD Facebook post. The department said one individual turned in more than 20 firearms. (Hwang, 6/12)

Organizing A Gun Buyback In San Mateo County

On a weekend in early June, hundreds of San Mateo County residents drove to a courthouse parking lot in South San Francisco to voluntarily give up their guns. The buyback was conducted by the county sheriff’s office and organized by Citizens for San Mateo Gun Buyback. The group formed in 2018 after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and then raised money from local city governments to pay for the program. There are other events like this happening in the Bay Area, too. (Guevarra, Finney, Esquinca and Montecillo, 6/13)

The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat:
Sonoma County Health Services Staff, Ordered Back To Workplace, Say They’re Being Exposed To COVID

Financial analyst Ann Joly was directed to be in her Santa Rosa office three days a week, starting May 3, after more than two years of teleworking. Ten days after that, her boss expanded the in-person order to five days a week. The return to cubicle life came at a time of widespread coronavirus transmission in the community. And sure enough, Joly started receiving notices of workplace exposures. Co-workers began to take sick time or vacation days to escape an environment they saw as risky, leaving the Neotomas Avenue office understaffed. (Barber, 6/11)

Sacramento Bee:
What Will COVID-19 School Rules Look Like At K-12 Schools?

COVID-19 case rates are ramping up as the school year ends, leaving many parents to wonder what their children will find when they return to class in the fall. While Sacramento County’s case rate has shown early signs of leveling off, down about 3% in the past week, its positivity rate has continued to climb, growing from 10.3% to 13% in the same stretch. (Morrar, 6/13)

The Wall Street Journal:
Three-Dose Pfizer Covid Vaccine Works Safely In Young Children, Review Says 

Three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE were effective at preventing symptomatic disease in children ages 6 months through 4 years in studies, according to U.S. health regulators. The FDA staff also said, in a review of study data posted online Sunday, that there were no new safety concerns using the vaccine in young children compared with older age groups. The assessment is the latest sign that authorities are moving closer to clearing inoculations for children under 5 years old, the last group ineligible for Covid-19 vaccination. (Loftus, 6/12)

US: Pfizer COVID-19 Shot Appears Effective For Kids Under 5 

The FDA said children who received Pfizer’s shots during testing developed high levels of virus-fighting antibodies expected to protect them against coronavirus. That’s the basic threshold needed to win FDA authorization. But additional testing turned up key differences, with stronger results for Pfizer. Pfizer’s vaccine, given as a three-shot series, appeared 80% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, although that calculation was based on just 10 cases diagnosed among study participants. The figure could change as Pfizer’s study continues. Moderna’s two-dose series was only about 40% to 50% effective at preventing milder infections, though the two companies’ shots were tested at different times during the pandemic, when different variants were circulating. Moderna has begun testing a booster for tots. (Perrone and Stobbe, 6/13)

The New York Times:
Pfizer Vaccine Effective In Children Under 5, The F.D.A. Says 

Some public health experts are expecting the F.D.A. to authorize both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines, offering parents a choice between the two. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must also weigh in with its recommendations after the F.D.A. acts. Roughly 18 million children younger than 5 are the only Americans who are not yet eligible for shots. (LaFraniere, 6/12)

The Hill:
White House Faces Uphill Challenge Getting Kids Under 5 Vaccinated

The Biden administration faces an uphill battle to convince parents to give COVID-19 shots to children under 5 years old. … Officials have outlined a plan that includes partnering with the online What to Expect community, as well as a range of national organizations, including a “speaker’s bureau” of pediatricians and family physicians who will be able to answer questions about the shots at community events. Vaccines will be distributed across thousands of different sites, but the administration will focus on front-line providers including pediatricians and primary care doctors, as that is where they expect many families will want to go. (Weixel, 6/12)

ABC News:
Key Challenges To Vaccinating Kids Under 5 Against COVID-19 And What We Can Do: Analysis 

As of June 8, more than 254 million doses (40%) of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered and reported by retail pharmacies. Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), pharmacists are authorized to order and administer childhood vaccines, including authorized COVID-19 vaccines, to children ages 3-18 years until Oct. 1, 2024. … However, pharmacists do not receive extensive training in vaccinating young children, who are often unwilling to participate in the immunization process. Additionally, most 3-year-old children are vaccinated in the thigh, rather than in the arm, making the vaccination of this age group particularly challenging in a busy pharmacy that may not have the space to ensure privacy during vaccine administration. (Brownstein, Weintraub, Fiscus, Tewarson and Greene, 6/10)

Modesto Bee:
Can I Get My Flu Shot The Same Time As Coronavirus Booster?

A spike in flu cases across the country, along with another COVID-19 surge, is leaving more people vulnerable to catching some form of disease — especially those who aren’t vaccinated. And although the flu is most common during the fall and winter, people remain susceptible to influenza year round, including in June. (Adatia, 6/13)

‘Discriminatory And Stigmatizing’: Scientists Push To Rename Monkeypox Viruses

A group of scientists from Africa and elsewhere are urging the scientific community and world health leaders to drop the stigmatizing language used to differentiate monkeypox viruses, and are even advocating renaming the virus itself. In a position paper published online on Friday, the group proposed abandoning the existing names for monkeypox virus clades — West Africa and Congo Basin — and replacing them with numbers, saying the current names are discriminatory. (Branswell, 6/11)

The Washington Post:
Monkeypox Dilemma: How To Warn Gay Men About Risk Without Fueling Hate

Monkeypox had arrived in Salt Lake County, with two men testing positive after returning from Europe, the epicenter of a global outbreak concentrated in gay and bisexual men. Officials there faced a dilemma. They wanted to warn men who have sex with men that they were at higher risk for exposure to the virus. But they feared unintended consequences: heterosexual people assuming they’re not susceptible, closeted men in a heavily Mormon community avoiding care so they’re not seen as gay, and critics exploiting the infections to sow bigotry. (Nirappil, 6/12)

CDC Director: Monkeypox May Be Tricky To Diagnose

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said clinicians should not rule out a monkeypox diagnosis if a patient presents with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). … Walensky said some of the 45 confirmed patients in the United States were also diagnosed as having herpes, gonorrhea, or chlamydia at the same time as the monkeypox diagnosis. The CDC also said that, among those 45, at least 75% had traveled internationally before contracting the disease. (Soucheray, 6/10)

Modern Healthcare:
Providers Prepare For Monkeypox, Discuss Infection Control Practices

Infectious disease experts and health systems across the country are ensuring facilities are well-equipped and prepared to deal with potential monkeypox cases and prevent further outbreaks. There have been 45 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. this year and more than 1,300 cases worldwide, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. government is waiting on the delivery of 300,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine Jynneos, and has ordered another 500,000 doses to be delivered later this year, the Associated Press reported Friday. (Devereaux, 6/10)

The Ah-Ha Moment When Doctors Realized First US Patient In Global Outbreak Had Monkeypox

When Dr. Nesli Basgoz met her patient for the first time in May, he had been admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital with symptoms that were quite common for many infectious diseases — fever, rash, fatigue, sweats. Basgoz and her colleagues at the hospital tested the patient for chickenpox. He was negative. They tested him for syphilis. He was negative. The doctors still treated him with antibiotics and antivirals that are used for common infections while they waited for his various test results — but his condition did not improve in response to those treatments. (Howard, 6/10)

Vacaville Reporter:
Rabid Bat Found In North Bay

A rabid bat has been found in Fairfield, Solano County officials announced Thursday, but as of yet, there’s no report of a person infected with rabies. The Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, Public Health division; the Napa-Solano-Yolo-Marin-Mendocino County Public Health Laboratory and the Solano County Sheriff’s Animal Control division confirmed that a bat has tested positive for the rabies virus. The sample was collected on June 2. (6/12)

Black And Latino Students In Berkeley Unified Are Overrepresented In Special Ed

A disproportionate number of Black and Latino students are enrolled in special education at Berkeley Unified, and over the last five years, those numbers have increased, according to data the school district submitted to the California Department of Education. … The topic is a wrought one in Berkeley schools, where some parents fight to get special education services for their children, while others feel their kids have been unnecessarily placed in the program. (Markovich, 6/12)

Navigating Freedom, Reentry And Motherhood: The Challenges For Formerly Incarcerated Moms

A group of women, many of them mothers, sat in a circle in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood in early April, talking about the challenges they’ve faced and victories they’ve celebrated recently. The group, called Seeking Safety — a project of the Bayview-based organization Positive Directions Equals Change — provides support for women in recovery from substance use disorder and for the formerly incarcerated. (Wright, 6/11)

The Mercury News:
Roe V. Wade: California Preps For Surge Of Abortion Patients

As the country braces for a Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade, California lawmakers are speeding ahead to expand abortion care and protect providers in the Golden State to meet an expected surge in demand for help from out-of-state women. Until recently, the rate of abortion procedures has been declining in California. But the state could be the nearest provider for up to 1.4 million women of reproductive age who could no longer have access to abortion in their home states, particularly for those who live in Arizona. (Krieger, 6/13)

The Wall Street Journal:
Google Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $118 Million

Google agreed to pay $118 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the tech giant had discriminated against women in pay and promotions. The settlement concludes a class-action suit in San Francisco Superior Court initiated in 2017 by three female former employees who said that Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., placed them in lower-job levels than similarly qualified males, leading to lower pay, and denied the women promotions or transitions to other teams that would have led to better career advancement. (Thomas, 6/12)