LA County Is Gearing Up for Another Wave of Vaccines. Here’s What To Expect

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

LA County Is Gearing Up for Another Wave of Vaccines. Here’s What To Expect
Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

When COVID vaccines first arrived in Southern California, lines at clinics often snaked around the block and online booking was near impossible. With booster shots for COVID likely to become available in the coming month, officials are scrambling to get infrastructure in place to prepare for the onslaught.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve use of the shots in the coming weeks and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will likely lay out an inoculation plan. With the Biden administration promising a Sept. 20 rollout date for booster shots, officials are trying to avoid a repeat of those early days.

"Here in L.A. County we're doing all the planning now, so that depending on the recommendations coming out from the CDC and the FDA we will be ready here," said Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Department of Public Health.

Neither Ferrer nor the county has laid out those plans in detail yet. But demand is likely to soar.

The boosters follow a promising study that Israel's Health Ministry conducted which found three jabs of the Pfizer vaccine were more efficacious at protecting individuals from the hyper-contagious delta variant than two.

The U.S. is also looking at vaccinations for children under 12. Pfizer director Scott Gottlieb has said the company could file an application for emergency use with the FDA as soon as October. That could mean child vaccinations are available as soon as this winter.

There are 1,050 vaccination sites scattered across the nation's most populous county. L.A. County Department of Public Health said it is ramping up efforts to bring more mobile vaccination clinics to underserved areas of Los Angeles, and doing home visits to home-bound residents.

The department said in a statement Friday that it was working with "vaccine partners to prepare for boosters" and seeking additional providers to help bolster its vaccine delivery infrastructure. The statement added county service providers are awaiting further guidance from the CDC and the state on eligibility and a time frame for the roll out, and said the department has been "assessing capacity."

But the mass testing and vaccine sites erected at the start of the pandemic have long been taken down and it's unclear whether the current sites, along with local hospitals, pharmacies and doctor's offices could fill the gap. Dodger Stadium, once the nation's largest testing site, is open for ball games and the parking lot where 430,000 vaccine shots were administered is now filled with parked cars.Curative, one of the city's partners in testing and vaccinating residents, has closed dozens of vaccine sites as demand shifted further towards needing mobile testing centers. It now operates about 25 testing sites in L.A.

Curative Vice President of Marketing Miranda Gottlieb said the company is gearing up to test more people in the fall by opening more drive-through clinics, but residents are not going to see massive testing infrastructure provided by the likes of Dodger Stadium, which it helped operate.

"Our whole apparatus has sort of waxed and waned along with the pandemic. When vaccines were sort of exponentially being given to people, far fewer people were getting tested," said Lucy Licht, the Southern California partnership manager at Curative.

Rita Burke, a health policy expert at USC, said what we are likely to see in this next wave is a repeat. There will be groups of people lined up to get the booster as soon as it comes out, creating long lines at vaccination sites, and demand will slowly wane.

"It's just hard to have anything permanent of that big of a scale in Los Angeles because space is such a commodity," Burke said. "...any large scale operation like that requires tons and tons of resources in terms of people, in terms of supplies."

Last month, federal officials and the CDC made a third shot available for certain people who are severely immunocompromised, like cancer patients receiving active treatments, those with untreated HIV infections, transplant recipients, and people taking medication that suppress the immune system. These shots are not boosters. They are for people who did not receive enough protection from a second shot and need a third. Boosters replenish the immune system.

There are about 800,000 immunocompromised people in California, a sliver of the state's more than 39 million residents. How effective the rollout for this is could be a harbinger of what's to come.
🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.

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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.


Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle

Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out

Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities

Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo

SoFi Stadium Tour

Image Source: Discover LA

A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours

Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch

Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
Image Source: Paramount

Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.

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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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