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Morning Lookout | BREAKING: US calls for Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause, SC camping ordinance conundrum

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, April 13, and it will be partly cloudy with a high of 62.

We’re waking up to big breaking news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending pausing the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after serious health complications have been reported. This comes just two days before California is set to expand vaccinations to all people 16 and older with the promise of a larger supply of doses supplemented by Johnson & Johnson.

Locally, we have major developments on the highly contentious “temporary outdoor living ordinance,” that would restrict where homeless people can camp.

On the lighter side, we’ve got some parks and rec news — and a reminder about a fun, free virtual event tomorrow.

Let’s get to it all:

U.S. urges pause in use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over blood clot concerns

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
A Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Lakewood on March 31. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

BREAKING: Federal officials recommend pausing the rollout of the single-shot “Janssen vaccine” developed by Johnson & Johnson after major health complications were reported.

What we know:

  • The recommendation comes after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 reported serious blood clots
  • About 7 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so far
  • The CDC will hold an emergency meeting to consider the recommendations tomorrow
  • “At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” the company said in a statement

Read more in this story from the LA Times.

What’s going on locally? As of latest available data, nearly 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Santa Cruz County residents. However, it’s unclear how many of those doses were made by Johnson & Johnson.

#BOLO: Today, Lookout will try and find out how many people in Santa Cruz County have received Johnson & Johnson’s “Janssen” vaccine and what this means for vaccine supply. Be On the Lookout on our website later today and this week as we seek those answers for you.

Supply issues as state prepares to expand eligibility to all people over age 16: On Thursday, all people over the age of 16 will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The state has already been dogged with spotty supply issues and is counting on a larger, more steady supply as more people become eligible. However, even before the Johnson & Johnson health concerns were raised today, the company faced production issues. Last week, the company said a batch of vaccines at a plant in Baltimore had failed quality standards and couldn’t be used. This snafu was expected to drive down the size of California’s federal allocation from the 2.4 million doses received this week, to 2 million next week and 1.9 million the week after that.

Vaccine trust: The announcement is a severe blow to the U.S. vaccination campaign, which has counted on public faith in the rapidly developed inoculations and growing supplies in order to protect Americans from the coronavirus and bring an end to the pandemic. Officials had been trying to boost public confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because, at the time the clinical trials were conducted, the shot was only 72% effective against moderate to severe infection in the U.S. With the new concerns related to J&J, there are no changes to federal guidance on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

LOOKOUT POLL: After receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, did you experience any side effects? Tell us anonymously in our poll here. If you’d like to share your experience in more detail with us, you can email us at news@lookoutlocal.com.

The vaccine gender gap: More women than men are getting COVID vaccines, even as more men are dying of the disease. Our partners at Kaiser Health News examined vaccination dashboards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in early April and found that each of the 38 that listed gender breakdowns showed more women had received shots than men. California and Santa Cruz reflect the same national gender divide.

Buying locally produced food and goods benefits you and your community in more ways than you think.

Santa Cruz ordinance restricting where homeless people can camp likely ‘dead’ after widespread opposition

The Seabright community came out passionately Sunday.
(Courtesy Wyatt Hull)

After a whirlwind tour of virtual and in-person meetings with city residents and business owners all over town, Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers says the city’s controversial “temporary outdoor living ordinance” appears to be “dead.” For weeks, Santa Cruz residents have been flooding city officials with letters of concern and calls to change the ordinance, which, in its current form, prohibits unsheltered people from camping overnight in most parts of the city, including Downtown. Read more of this latest development from our Isabella Cueto here.

#BOLO: Tonight, Santa Cruz City Council will meet and consider several key issues including proposed changes to the contentious temporary outdoor living ordinance. Be On the Lookout on our website for the latest updates that come out of the city council meetings that will begin later this morning.

PAST COVERAGE:

March 30: Seabright speaks up: Residents, businesses frustrated by outdoor living ordinance that would allow camping

March 31: Santa Cruz mayor responds after Seabright residents sound off about ‘outdoor living ordinance’

April 5: After intense backlash, Santa Cruz mayor to propose striking Seabright from areas where homeless can sleep

April 8: Top Santa Cruz officials try to allay Seabright’s fears about homeless as camping ordinance revisions emerge

Parks and Rec

Arts and crafts programs are among the many summer offerings by the Santa Cruz parks' system for kids post-pandemic.
(Courtesy city of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Parks announces summer activity lineup: After a dreary year away from friends, Santa Cruz kids can look forward to a slew of fun summer activities hosted by City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation — including fan favorites like junior lifeguard classes on the beach, baseball and skateboard camps, SUP/kayak camp, classes in the arts and sciences and more. Registration for summer parks programs will begin next month. Here’s what you need to know.

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz is changing its name — but it isn’t having a change of heart: MBOSC is changing its name to the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship. Our Cypress Hansen explains the reasons for the rebranding here.

Bike Month is coming to Santa Cruz County: With indoor closures lingering, warm weather beckoning, and pandemic blues fading away, it’s the perfect time to hop on a bike and go for a ride. Local Bike Month events in May just got announced. Cypress breaks it all down here.

Join us tomorrow for another free event: Opening up Santa Cruz and the future of tourism

The joys of the Giant Dipper.
(Courtesy The Boardwalk)

Between its beaches, the Boardwalk, museums, recreation, live music and more, tourism typically is a $1 billion a year industry in Santa Cruz County and the No. 1 driver of the city of Santa Cruz’s economy. Now, after a year that saw the industry’s decline, it’s about to open up again. So what does that mean for jobs and the economy, not to mention the fun that’s in store for you, your family and tourists alike? Wallace and I will be talking to an all-star panel about those questions and more. Read more about the panelists here.

When: Tomorrow at 6 p.m.
Where: Zoom
To register, click here.

Around the area …

Two bodies pulled from sunken vehicle in Moss Landing harbor (The Pajaronian)

Scotts Valley art, beer and wine festival returns in August (Good Times)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs on everything we’re publishing through the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor

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