Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Despite CDC approval, some parents still hesitant about COVID vaccine

 November 3, 2021 at 2:19 PM PDT

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Talking to parents about their young children and COVID bags.

Speaker 2: (00:03)

So you have to first understand your patient and the people that you're speaking to in the community to understand their concerns. Okay.

Speaker 1: (00:11)

I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid-day edition, The fate of outdoor dining post COVID shutdowns.

Speaker 3: (00:28)

This is part of an overall long-term change in the city of San Diego, where we should be doing this everywhere. We should be vacating streets everywhere we should be providing outdoor dining. So this is a really good step in the right

Speaker 1: (00:42)

How veterans are being stopped from getting treatment outside the VA health system and where spotlighting spies and an excerpt from the cinema junkie podcast. That's ahead on midday edition.

Speaker 1: (01:02)

After receiving the go ahead from the FDA and CDC, Corona virus vaccinations for kids aged five through 11 are starting today, the lower dose vaccine by Pfizer, and Biointech now has emergency use authorization for the younger age group, opening up the vaccine to some 28 million children in the U S yet many parents remain reluctant to have their children vaccinated. A recent Kaiser family foundation poll found that only about 30% of parents with children. Aged five through 11 were eager to have their kids vaccinated here to talk more about vaccinating younger children and talking to parents about it is Dr. Bob Gillespie, a physician with sharp healthcare and founding member of the San Diego county COVID-19 equity task force. Dr. Gillespie.

Speaker 2: (01:50)

Welcome. Thank you so much, Jay, for having me,

Speaker 1: (01:53)

What have medical professionals learned over the course of the pandemic about how best to talk to their patients about the vaccine?

Speaker 2: (02:00)

You know, one of the things that we as scientists have a tendency to do is to rely on data. And when you're speaking to people in the community, their reality is not always found in the data that's been present. Give you an example. One of the concerns that parents have between the age of five and 11 is fertility and their children getting the vaccines at such an early age, the data has not shown any issues concerning fertility and the scientific side. We're more worried about things such as myocarditis though. It's rare and it's something that can occur. So you have to first understand your patient and the people that you're speaking to in the community to understand their concerns. So that's the first step. And the second thing is to be armed with the information that is factual and give both sides of the story

Speaker 1: (02:51)

And do these strategies change when we're talking about younger kids like this new five through 11 age

Speaker 2: (02:57)

Group, without a question, if you look at what we have done in San Diego county and people over the age of 6 65 and older, we vaccinated over 97% of that population, at least one shot 97%. And the reason for that is our argument is that in that age group, the risk of hospitalization and death is quite significant. When you look at kids five to 11, you can not make that same argue quite the opposite. We know the risk of hospitalization and death is almost non-existent. It's very small, not non-existent, but small. So the arguments have to be based on other issues. What are the differences in immunocompromised patients are those with pre-existing conditions? Are they more likely to benefit? What about minority patients? Are they more likely the issues related to mental health and socialization that occurs as we distance ourselves with the fear of getting COVID and our learning changes, our inability to educate our young children. How does that impact? And lastly, the issue that's a real, a really real issue. What about the impact of long COVID and what it might until when it might cause issues with our young children? And of course, the issue of how we transmit within our families, if our young children are not vaccinated Hmm.

Speaker 1: (04:15)

And vaccine hesitancy for kids seem to be on the mind of many committee members at yesterday's CDC advisory committee meeting, uh, which voted 14, zero in support of recommending the vaccine to kids age five through 11. Here's what Dr. Helen Talbot had to say in that meeting,

Speaker 4: (04:33)

We have reviewed this data and I have that to maiden my kids. Cause I feel like it's safe. Um, and I would not recommend something if I did not feel that way. And so I think it's really important, um, to just reiterate what many of us have said we are parents and we have given this to our children.

Speaker 1: (04:50)

Is this more personal approach effective at connecting with patients in your view?

Speaker 2: (04:55)

I think a personal approach is effective as long as you also provide some reasonable reasons for making that decision. In the case of a physician who comes from typically middle-class upper middle-class would be probably a better characterization. The argument would be more along the lines of preventing the social concerns and mental health concerns that are come with not being vaccinated. The issue of seven to 8% of potentially getting long COVID, which is a condition where you have symptoms that last greater than 12 weeks out from an infection with COVID. So these become very important issues, not the issue of death and hospitalization. However, in minority populations, on the other hand, the vast majority of those people who did end up with illnesses, where there was a high percentage in minority boobs. So a different view may be in that population compared to a majority population. So you really have to target message to an individual group as you consider these variables.

Speaker 1: (06:02)

And what do you think the medical community gets right and wrong? When it comes to listening to patient's concerns

Speaker 2: (06:08)

Know I was fascinated as I looked at that Kaiser study. And one of the first things, if you look at parents' concerns, as I mentioned earlier, is one of fertility, you know, this is something that we have not even seen a, seen a signal that reduction in fertility occurs with the use of these vaccines. So I think one of the things that we have to focus on what the parents' concerns are. And I think if we do that, we have a better chance of making a difference in getting this group patients vaccinated

Speaker 1: (06:39)

In your sharp healthcare biography. You wrote building trust, which does not necessarily take an extended period of time, is the key to helping a patient make the correct informed decision. How do you approach building that trust with patients?

Speaker 2: (06:53)

And that same study you've mentioned. That was one of the concerns that parents have, particularly minority patients. And that was being able to go to a location that they trusted, that they have trust. And that's particularly in the minority population that that becomes an issue, what you do for trust because of historical issues. Often in people of color, it is important to have someone that looks that's providing that message when it comes to anyone in the general population, trust is built in from a caregiver that, that individual trust. So that is, if you go into a doctor's office who you've seen for a number of years, that's certainly going to provide a level of trust that will allow you to discuss the vaccine. I speak with every single one of my patients about getting a vaccine, even though I'm a cardiologist, it's extremely important that we speak with all of our patients because they trust me for other reasons. And with that, many of my unvaccinated patients will go up and get vaccinated of all different racial backgrounds.

Speaker 1: (07:55)

And what would you say to a parent who came to you that expressed concern about the vaccine?

Speaker 2: (08:00)

Um, I would say the following to parents that have children between the age of five and 11, that the clinical trials, though, not as extensive as the main trials, this was a few thousand patients, just under 3000 that we looked at or in this group of five to 11, but it just added 2,500. I should say what we saw in this group was that the antibody levels went up quite significantly. There was no increase in side effects beyond what typically occurred in the general population, the fatigue, headache, local irritation, and there was no signal of a bad outcome. The dose is about a third of what was given to adults and all of the information, which suggests that this is very safe, but I would also add that we still need more data, that it will be something we'll continue to monitor. We have a number of ways of monitoring these vaccines and that data, if there's is a signal that shows any concern whatsoever will trigger a stop in using that vaccine immediately. So I would encourage parents that it is very safe, but nonetheless, we will continue to monitor this very closely.

Speaker 1: (09:09)

I've been speaking with Dr. Bob Gillespie, a physician with sharp healthcare and founding member of the San Diego county COVID-19 equity task force. Dr. Gillespie, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks

Speaker 2: (09:20)


Speaker 5: (09:28)

According to a San Diego city council member, it's one of the silver linings of the COVID pandemic outdoor restaurant dining extended onto sidewalks and parking areas was given permanent approval by the city council last week. The emergency measure meant to help restaurants serve patrons outdoors during the height of the pandemic as proven so popular. It's now a city initiative, dubbed spaces to places the move towards permanent outdoor dining is also supported by Steve Glasso owner of cafe Italia and president of the little Italy association,

Speaker 6: (10:04)

Al fresco dining. As we like to call it here and little literally it's the future of dining and not only San Diego, but I think throughout the nation, uh, and as a small business owner in San Diego, I'm encouraged by the mayors and the city council's decision to create a program. I think it's certainly going in the right direction.

Speaker 5: (10:20)

New regulations for the structures and new fees were part of the city council's approval. Joining me is Marco [inaudible]. He is chief executive administrator of the little Italy association and Marco, welcome to the program. Thanks Maureen. Now, looking back over the past year, how important has the opening up of outdoor dining areas been for little Italy

Speaker 3: (10:42)

Critical? I'm I'm happy to say that little Italy did not lose one restaurant or bar or coffee shop during COVID, which we believe is a tremendous achievement it without the outdoor dining, because I think as you recall, just about a year ago on Thanksgiving, everything's shut down completely. And when things began to open up an outdoor dining was allowed in twenty-five percent. Indoor was allowed that's when the restaurants were given the approval to build within the parking spaces and the building of all those structures in parking spaces, along India and Ketner Columbia and other spaces kept these restaurants alive. So we didn't lose anybody. And they were critical to the survival of the restaurant industry in little Italy.

Speaker 5: (11:28)

Yeah. Along with allowing the outdoor dining areas to become permanent. The city council has also imposed a number of regulations and fees. For instance, roofs have to be removed from any outdoor dining area. No tents are allowed. Do you agree with these new rules?

Speaker 3: (11:45)

The issue is that the temporary building structures, which were allowed last February expired in because they have only a six month life. They're really written for things like surface pants and pop-up pants and things like that. But they were applied to the outdoor structures. When we tried to clarify, why were we going to have to take down these roofs lower to 45 inches? You know, you couldn't run wires from the restaurants anymore. We were told that it was a state building code. Our fear Maureen was that San Diego might implement this according to the regulations, but other cities would not. So what we have now is you cannot have rooftops in San Diego, but you can in San Francisco, they're building them in Oakland. As we speak, you can do them in LA. So it's each fire. Marshall's interpretation. The state building codes that is created this issue about no rooftops. And it's extremely frustrating.

Speaker 5: (12:40)

Oh, you do have some argument with these actual regulations about the structures of the dining. Parklets how about the new city fees for outdoor dining? They could cost restaurants several thousand dollars. Will that be feasible for most restaurants

Speaker 3: (12:55)

Go to India street and you see the restaurants spend a hell of a lot more than a couple of thousand dollars for some of these structures were baffled by the fact that certain things were changed and other things were not

Speaker 5: (13:05)

Outside of the roofs. I may ask you, what do you think in general about the fact that these outdoor dining structures have been approved permanently by the city county?

Speaker 3: (13:16)

It's great. We think that the spaces in places is great and we support the city. I don't think that the cost and the annual rental rate will be an ominous burden to a lot of the restaurants. Of course we would like a lot of that way, but we understand that there is a process for monitoring and improvement. And we think the restaurants actually will take advantage of that. All of them down India street and throughout little, little

Speaker 5: (13:41)

Now outdoor restaurant dining structures, they usually eliminate parking spaces is losing that parking revenue, a problem.

Speaker 3: (13:47)

We generate quite a bit of parking revenue. And I think that if we added up the spaces, we're not talking more than like 30 spaces or so. And then you just do the math. There are plenty of other spaces in low and lead that can accommodate that. The real issue is, has the lack of parking impacted people's availability to come and visit little Italy and parking lot, literally, et cetera. And if you come to little Italy on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you'd say, no, it has not. People figure it out. They either walk the Uber, they lift the parking, the county parking structure, they trolley, they take scooters, whatever, but it has not impacted us negatively.

Speaker 5: (14:21)

How do you think that this works into this street dining works into your idea of creating plazas for people to walk shop for making little Italy and a lot of other dining areas around the city, more pedestrian friendly, more walkable.

Speaker 3: (14:38)

I think Maureen, as you know, we probably have more public spaces in little Italy in the 48 square blocks and any other community in the county of San Diego. You know, there's a great quote. It says cars have never bought anything, but people do. So what we want to make sure is that we're able to accommodate the customers, the visitors, the residents, the people that work here all throughout Italy. And I think that we've really demonstrated that you can have walkability and still thrive.

Speaker 5: (15:06)

How difficult is it going to be for restaurants to dismantle the kinds of things that the city council wants them to dismantle like roofs and take down tents and things like that. Is that going to be prohibitive for some people? Yes.

Speaker 3: (15:19)

We've got a great group. We have a hospitality task force ever since July, that they've known that this was coming and we continue to update them on a monthly basis. So this is not surprising to a lot of people, would they prefer to keep the roofs? Of course, but they realize that they can keep the platforms. They can keep the outdoor dining, we can replace it with umbrellas. They can have battery operated Peters and lighting within their area. So I think that the key thing is the platforms and the ability to have additional space because as you know, people can serve a hundred percent indoors now and outdoors, and that extra space has really made the difference for survival. We've heard from many restaurants that their business in October, 2021 was better than October, 2019, which tells us this outdoor dining has really made the difference. So that's a positive thing.

Speaker 3: (16:09)

And you know, I'm a native San Diego. We have about 340 days a year that we can go outside. And in light of the fact that COVID had such a tremendous impact worldwide, people want to eat outdoors, they would prefer to be outdoors. Cause the virus doesn't thrive as much outdoors. So we believe that this is part of an overall long-term change in the city of San Diego, where we should be doing this everywhere. We should be vacating streets everywhere. We should be providing outdoor dining outdoor sitting and enjoyment of this incredible micro climate that we have. So this is a really good step in the right direction.

Speaker 5: (16:47)

I've been speaking with Marco [inaudible]. He is chief executive administrator of the little Italy association, Marco. Thank you very

Speaker 3: (16:54)

Much. Thanks a lot, Maureen. Anytime

Speaker 5: (17:18)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heinemann 9 million veterans in the us get medical care through the VA each year. I new source investigative reported Jill Castellano was back with the second of her two-part series on the federal health care system.

Speaker 7: (17:40)

This is Kiowa Wolf's happy place. He used to come here with his service dog Marlo twice a week.

Speaker 8: (17:48)

Crying for

Speaker 9: (17:49)

Treats. Are you serious?

Speaker 7: (17:53)

Wolf is a Marine Corps veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. He struggles with depression, thoughts of suicide and post traumatic stress, no traditional medications or therapies seem to help

Speaker 9: (18:06)

Make me real edgy. And you know, always looking at people and checking for exits pretty irritable

Speaker 7: (18:16)

Because Wolf is a veteran. The VA healthcare system paid for him to try a special treatment called ketamine therapy here at this private doctor's office, sitting in the courtyard, outside the clinic Wolf and his wife call the drug infusions, lifesaving.

Speaker 9: (18:32)

You know, I could just actually relax and put my arm around my son and talk to him and act like a human and not like T one-on-one a Terminator.

Speaker 7: (18:45)

But last year, the San Diego VA stopped paying for the treatments impacting Wolf and 27 other mentally ill veterans emails show the VA's own doctors warned that cutting the veterans off from these treatments could put their lives at risk, but hospital personnel did it anyway. Since losing regular ketamine therapy Wolf has spent more and more of his time lingering in bed,

Speaker 9: (19:10)

Seidel ideations, and then those thoughts and stuff. Um, staying longer in my head, just like I'm just another number again.

Speaker 7: (19:24)

And I knew source investigation has found that across the country, VA administrators and staff are overruling doctor's orders about what their patients need here in San Diego and inspector General's report found that hospital staff stopped paying for ketamine treatments because they had trouble keeping track of paperwork. It was not a medical decision.

Speaker 10: (19:47)

Yeah, I think the million dollar question is, is the who, who, who, who makes this decision now

Speaker 7: (19:55)

To help get his treatments back? Wolf has enlisted Renee St. Claire, a lawyer working for the veteran pro bono he's

Speaker 10: (20:03)

Um, to know this treatment as the thing that gets him by week to week. And when you take that away from someone and you leave them with nothing, it's crushing it's soul crushing

Speaker 7: (20:16)

During a recent visit St. Claire reviewed stacks of communication sent to the VA over the past year,

Speaker 10: (20:24)

May 7th, 2021. The clock is counting down toward veteran Wolf's fate. The life of a good man and a good Marine is 30th, 2021. I assure you I will harness resources and get to the bottom of this deprivation. The issue is bigger than Kiowa. The fury and fear of these vets will not be ignored forever. Is that okay?

Speaker 7: (20:50)

St. Claire catches her breath and thinks about all the work she's done to help Kiowa Wolf.

Speaker 10: (20:55)

I can feel it in my gut because I haven't gone back and read them since I wrote them. I do it because I want there to be at least one day a week that they know that Kai was still out there and he still needs help. And that they shouldn't forget because we're not forgetting

Speaker 7: (21:14)

The San Diego VA has started offering a low dose version of the drug that many patients have not found therapeutic, including Wolfe. Dr. Kathleen Kim, the hospital's chief of staff says these veterans can't return to the private clinic because of legal concerns. She cited St. Clair's emails as the reason,

Speaker 11: (21:34)

One of the former administrators of that clinic every Friday, since what I would call a nasty email complaining about this issue. And so at this point, we've turned it over to legal counsel

Speaker 7: (21:50)

For Wolf. The VA's decision to stop paying for ketamine has felt like a betrayal.

Speaker 9: (21:56)

It feels like I'm getting stabbed in the back with a buoy knife. Again, a twisted,

Speaker 7: (22:01)

The veteran's home is full of keepsakes from his time in the Marine Corps. Pictures in uniform in Sydney is lining the walls and a folded retirement flag in a shadow box.

Speaker 9: (22:12)

A lot of our brothers and sisters that don't always get this. Cause you know, they don't always make it back from, um, downrange. It's an honor to even be, have had this in my hands

Speaker 7: (22:30)

When he has the strength to get out of bed. Wolf spends his time in the living room with his wife and kids, cooking meals and watching TV.

Speaker 12: (22:38)

That's the best thing that ever happened to me.

Speaker 7: (22:49)

These moments of joy are some of the best medicine Wolf can get for KPBS. I, my new source, investigative reporter, Jill Castillano.

Speaker 5: (23:01)

If you are having thoughts of ending your life, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1 802 7 3 8 2 5 5. I new source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS.

Speaker 8: (23:18)


Speaker 1: (23:31)

For people getting out of jail or recovery centers, reintegration back into society can be a tough journey. KPBS north county reporter, Tonya thorn introduces us to a nonprofit. Helping recently released individuals with

Speaker 13: (23:45)

Support and jobs on his days off Nixle, Diane gets ready to hit the waves, but life result, Tanya, wasn't always so sweet. As he says,

Speaker 14: (23:55)

Couch surfing, doing anything I got to do to get money, no matter what it was, as far as stealing stuff from stores to eat, to go into different friend's house. And if they had food or whatever it was. So just couch, surf, life, basically,

Speaker 13: (24:12)

Uh, final robbery and a tarnished record. It got saw Diane nine years in prison,

Speaker 14: (24:17)

But now I'd see people coming back in like two or three times before I'd even get out. Like they'd be in that being there for like a year, three years later, they come back and they're like, you're still here. And I'm like, yeah, you're back

Speaker 13: (24:28)

Saldana. Didn't want to be back. He completed a sentence by staying busy with fire camp, working out and looking ahead to leaving his past behind when Saldana was released, he got a job at a grocery store. It helped him pay rent and buy a car, but he wasn't happy

Speaker 14: (24:45)

Wake up at four or five, go skate to work. If it was raining to the bus, like skating to the bus and the rain to showing up soaking wet and having to work in a dairy cooler and stuff like that. And they didn't care.

Speaker 13: (24:57)

That's when he got connected with Tim lamb basis, the founder of a nonprofit called re-integration. It serves people who have served time or have left recovery programs by helping them get jobs. He helps sell Dinah, get a stage crew job for TV shows and events, something he enjoys.

Speaker 14: (25:14)

Really. You just got to like go and just look for a job, like reach out to a bunch of different people. Every single day apply everywhere and sooner or later, like it's going to come. You know, it just depends on how fast and how motivated like, like the person is, you know,

Speaker 13: (25:31)

Lampis, this is the lead singer of the musical group. As I lay dying In 2014, Lampis has pled guilty for attempting to hire someone to murder his wife

Speaker 15: (25:43)

At the time, because it's not really something I can like defend or explain in a way that somebody can be like, oh, I get it. Cause it doesn't, it doesn't make sense to me. It's not like a logical place in my life. You know, just like a dark spot in my life.

Speaker 13: (25:57)

He lives with regret every day.

Speaker 15: (25:59)

Something I wish I could take back every day, but it's nothing I can really do to take it back so much as I can just show that it was a very isolated moment in my life. The only way to prove that is by the way I live my life going forward

Speaker 13: (26:08)

While he was in prison, land base has got a degree in addiction counseling,

Speaker 15: (26:12)

But a lot of the guys that I was incarcerated with, they didn't have the family support. The friends were not positive influences. Um, and they might not have come out of prison with a particular job skill. So I really wanted to help guys have all three of those reasons.

Speaker 13: (26:26)

Re-integration works with different companies, looking to hire and willing to give people a chance. They offer resume support and mock interviews to help them secure the job.

Speaker 15: (26:35)

A lot of these guys are more than capable on their own of, of getting a job and they have, um, you know, they have skills, they just need that support system. And other guys need to actually develop the skills. So they need to maybe come into like a lower level job temporarily, um, work their way up so that they can have something that's it starts out like on the minimum wage level, but eventually it can become a career.

Speaker 13: (26:54)

And visa says everyone is facing different things. And the organization has to take every case by case, but by offering support and helping people find a sustainable job, Lamby says, says they are reducing recidivism and preventing old patterns from repeating.

Speaker 15: (27:08)

These are people that have been through things and a lot of times very heartbreaking things. And so I think, um, as we give it some of these guys and hopefully some girls as well, a chance to tell their stories that that only not only validates what they've been through, but helps some of these employers see that, you know, these are, these are great people that have done a bad thing, not, not bad people.

Speaker 13: (27:27)

This is re-integration first year of operation and they've helped 13 people so far their office in Carlsbad opens later this month, Lamby says hopes the organization can grow their staff employment opportunities and the number of people they help.

Speaker 15: (27:42)

Well, I think a little bit of the, the narrative is changing, um, especially around addiction, but then with incarceration, it's like people are often defined by this worst moment in their life. And I personally feel like people are so much more than that. Tanya

Speaker 13: (27:56)

KPPs news.

Speaker 5: (28:08)

We already know that the California condor is an audacious species. The birds boldly bounced back from near extinction. 30 years ago to a population of hundreds today flying free over the American Southwest. But wildlife researchers have now confirmed that California Condors have made a reproductive breakthrough by producing offspring that have no father it's called parthenogenesis. It's been seen in other bird species, but never before in the condor, the finding has startled wildlife experts and made movie buffs recall the female only reproduction of baby dinosaurs in Jurassic park, Johnny Mayez KPBS environment, reporter Eric Anderson, Eric, welcome to the program.

Speaker 16: (28:54)

Thank you, Maureen. Remember life will find a way as Jeff Goldbloom said,

Speaker 5: (28:59)

Apparently it does. I'm wondering, how did researchers confirm that these two condor chicks had only one parent?

Speaker 16: (29:08)

Well, the researcher is do something with the Condors that they don't have a chance to do with a lot of other endangered species. And that is they test them genetically, uh, because all of the Condors are brought in, uh, from the wild back in the 1980s, they've been able to basically identify each condor or the majority of the Condors, uh, through their genetic testing program. And they do that for a very simple reason. Uh, they want to be able to keep that population, which was so small to begin with just 22 birds, uh, genetically diverse. In other words, they want, they want to make sure that, uh, the right birds are meeting with each other so that it increases the diversity of the species so that they have a better chance, uh, to be resilient in the future. Uh, and that when the herd gets bigger, like it is now, or when the flock gets bigger, like it is now, uh, then there'll be much more resilient to anything they might face.

Speaker 5: (30:06)

So if they find that the genomes are identical to the mothers, does that mean there was no male involved in their development?

Speaker 16: (30:13)

Well, here's what happens typically when you look at a genome, any genome, a parent of a human baby, you'd look at that genome. And you say, look, these are traits that came from the mother. These are traits that came from the father and the resulting genome of the child is sort of a blend of the two. What they found in these cases is that the genomes of the children of two separate Condors, the male children of two separate Condors, uh, was exactly the same as the genome of the mother. And the only explanation for that is that there was no father involved in the fertilization process.

Speaker 5: (30:48)

How does parthenogenesis work? I mean, do we understand it?

Speaker 16: (30:53)

It's a very good question and I'm not sure that there's a full understanding of exactly how it works, but, uh, we do know that it does happen. Um, in other species, we know that, um, there is some bugs, there are dinosaurs in Jurassic park, as we all know reptiles, it happens in it. And also it's been known to happen in birds. But the thing with the birds is it usually find it in settings where, uh, all the birds in an enclosure might be female. So there's no chance for contact with a male and yet they still produce offspring. Now, what they found is that some of the birds that were allowed to grow to term this way, weren't viable. They weren't very strong, genetically this, in this particular case, in the Condors, um, these two birds are from all intents and purposes, normal male condor. So, uh, this hasn't affected them, uh, the offspring in any negative.

Speaker 5: (31:53)

And as you say, this type of female only asexual reproduction, not only is it rare, but it's even more startling because in this instance there were male Condors present. Can you tell us more about that?

Speaker 16: (32:05)

Yeah. Uh, this is something that puzzled the, the researchers when they, uh, found this, uh, uh, anomaly, uh, because the females that were involved, the two mother Condors that were, that were involved in this were in the same enclosure with fertile males. So they had an opportunity. And yet, um, as it happened, they went ahead and reproduced, uh, without the help of the male condor and, and the researchers really don't have an answer as to why that is the case.

Speaker 5: (32:36)

So if is, could achieve parthenogenesis why did they almost go extinct 30 years ago?

Speaker 16: (32:43)

The conduits were under extreme environmental pressure. Uh, their range was shrinking. They were, uh, interacting more with, uh, people and, and they're big, large birds, which makes them big, large, uh, targets in some ways. And so the population went down parthenogenesis I don't think is, uh, uh, really, uh, uh, huge, uh, reproductive tool. There are a couple of things you have to recognize about parthenogenesis now the females, uh, can lay and fertilize an egg on their own as the researchers have proven, but the, the, but the chick that they'll raise will always be a male. And that's because, uh, the male Condors carry the sex hormone, right? So without fertilization, you can't have a female condor born, so that's kind of a dead end road over the longterm. What's interesting. And one of the researchers talked to me about was this idea that maybe it's a mechanism for the species to eliminate, uh, um, unhealthy traits from a population. So if, uh, a number of males are, have this deleterious, uh, gene expression in their genome that can kind of skip over, uh, allowing them to reproduce and they can reproduce themselves. And then those males will die off. And the ones that are produced by the female only sperm, uh, would take their place and, and, and reproduce naturally. So that's one possibility, but, uh, you know, the, the, the information is so new that they haven't had a really good chance to, to say exactly why it happens and what the long-term impact might be.

Speaker 5: (34:28)

As you explained, researchers have an abundance of genetic information on the California condor, which makes me think that if they had the kind of complete genetic information about other species that they have on the California condor, might they find that parthenogenesis happens more often in other species?

Speaker 16: (34:49)

Um, I think that's a fair assumption to make, uh, you know, we don't have all of the, the, the entire genetic library of crows or the entire genetic library, uh, of, uh, other large birds like Eagles, but we do have, uh, pretty much the entire genetic library of the California condor. And so findings like this, uh, can be made the only way you would. I, you know, be able to tell in other species, without these genetic markers is through observation, and then you'd have to have them in some kind of a contained area where they don't have exposure, and then they still, uh, raise viable, uh, eggs. Uh, so it's much more complicated and really, um, it's kind of a stroke of luck that, that they have this huge genetic resource available so that they can make this finding and then perhaps understand, uh, what, how this functions within the species and how it helps, uh, propagate that species over the longterm.

Speaker 5: (35:50)

I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Thank you so much.

Speaker 16: (35:56)

My pleasure.

Speaker 5: (36:06)

This is KPBS day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heineman cinema junkie dedicated last month to exploring spies on screen, starting with a fantasy world of an Fleming's James Bond this month, Beth Huck Amando turns to John Lee, carets, grittier, and more realistic look at the world of espionage. And this excerpt from the podcast, Beth welcomes back, spy, aficionados, Gary Dexter, and Jeff quest to talk about LA Carre and the film adaptations of his books.

Speaker 17: (36:42)

Welcome back. We're reconvening our group of spy aficionados to talk about a different kind of spy. Last time we discussed James Bond and the fantasy spied. Now we're going to turn to a more realistic look of the world of intelligence and counter-intelligence courtesy of author, John Le Carre.

Speaker 18: (37:01)

Caro's magnificent, bestselling novel. The spy who came in from,

Speaker 17: (37:07)

I think it really was the 1960s where we start to see a real significant and distinct shift in tone. And the film for me that I remember vividly was the 1965 adaptation of John Le Carre is the spy who came in from the cold.

Speaker 19: (37:25)

We have to live without sympathy, don't fare. We can't do that forever. I'm constantly outdoors all the time I needed to come in in from the code.

Speaker 20: (37:35)

It's one of my favorite all time espionage movies. It's also one of those rare beasts of a very, very faithful adaptation of its source novel. Yeah. And I think it's definitely, um, a key milestone on the road, if not the, if not the origin of sort of the modern style of plausible, if not realistic spy movie.

Speaker 19: (37:55)

Well, I'd say, uh, since the war, uh, methods I techniques that is, and those are the communists have become very much the same. I mean, occasionally we have to do wicked things anyway, could things indeed, but it can't be less wicked. And your enemies simply because of government's policies benevolent.

Speaker 21: (38:22)

Yeah. I'd agree with Gary. I think this was really one of the first films to grapple with the cold war and the way that we think of it nowadays, you know, although it was something that Hollywood was thinking about earlier, Billy Wilder, right. Did 1, 2, 3, which was a really fun movie, but it was filmed right when the Berlin wall went up. And so they were like trying to figure out how do we incorporate this into this actual, this movie that we're filming right now in Berlin,

Speaker 18: (38:51)

The Western sector under allied protection wise, peaceful, prosperous, and enjoyed all the blessings of democracy,

Speaker 21: (38:58)

You know, Hollywood was trying to, as it always does, how can we monetize whatever's happening in the real world? Right? And at that time, people were scared. People were worried about what was going on in the world and starting to feel a little more jaded about the government, I think. And so I think you see some of that cynicism kind of start to leak into the movies that were released.

Speaker 17: (39:22)

I wanted you to talk a little bit about John Le Carre and also a little bit about Anne Fleming as authors, and also as people who were involved in real world espionage work and how they kind of translated their own personal experiences to literature and kind of made different choices about the kinds of literary work

Speaker 22: (39:44)

That they did. I owe a great deal to Fleming for one reason only that Fleming produced by writing that type of romanticized heroic a moral novel, he produced what you might call a counter market, which I was able to satisfy.

Speaker 21: (40:03)

Well, I think when you look at the two authors, they are very different and you can see that even in the way that they started in their career in espionage, John Le Carre was recruited as a college student to spy on his fellow, uh, students by, uh [inaudible]. And then he later went on to work for [inaudible] as an adult. And then also am I six? So he had a real grounding in espionage. He was overseas in Germany, uh, recruiting and running agents and, and all accounts and in very difficult circumstances and contrast that with the inflaming who during world war two was like the assistant to a spy master. Um, and his, his thing was coming up with all sorts of crazy bizarre plans to try and put one over on the Nazis. And, um, I think when you look at that, you can really see the distinct difference between how their approach to spying was and why Le Carre is known for his more, you know, gritty realism and Fleming is known for more fantastical espionage.

Speaker 20: (41:20)

Um, I, what I, the only thing I would add to that, cause Jeff's done an excellent job of explaining that the differences really is one thing that I think informs their respective writing is that in [inaudible] case his father was a notorious con man, you know, he, he basically, uh, [inaudible] led a life that was a sort of dictated by that, that way he'd find himself in, um, situations where he was sent to private school and then his father couldn't afford to pay the school fees. And, uh, you know, he was incarcerated as well. And, um, that's reflected in a number of [inaudible] stories and, and background characters in his work. In contrast, of course, Fleming was a child with great privilege here. He'd lost his father in the first war, but he, uh, was raised in a, in a sort of very privileged context. And, uh, you know, as we've probably noted before he set out to write novels that gave the British public who was still going through post-war rationing and wind swept and wet island, a view of the world beyond and luxuries and privilege and locations that many of them would never see in their lifetime.

Speaker 20: (42:26)

And certainly, you know, not until economical jet transport did, did the public at large being able to experience such a thing. So I think each of them, um, and their writing, uh, is, is informed very much by that very different experience.

Speaker 17: (42:41)

Do you think the fact that they both actually worked in espionage help to make their novels kind of unique in terms of what was being offered to the public? Was that part of the draw and attraction that people had, or did people not know that that's what their background was?

Speaker 21: (42:59)

John Le Carre very famously denied that he was working, you know, he had worked for any sort of secret service for a long time. He was just known as somebody who worked in the foreign office. No, I don't want to answer that question, but it was a pretty open secret that there was something more going on there. As soon as you say, you're aspiring writer, there is a certain portion of the audience. That's going to assume that you have some sort of spy background, whether that's true or not. And people are very willing to take that on and accept that mantle, whether it is true or not. Um, and so I think that's just part and parcel with spies because we're so used to them playing with the truth.

Speaker 20: (43:38)

Yeah, it's very true. It's a sort of unique position for an author to be in because, you know, people that write books about serial killers are not presumed to be serial killers themselves. So it's kind of unique to the, to the espionage genre. I think in Fleming's case, he, he didn't really make any, any bones about it. Um, but having worked for Admiral Godfrey and, uh, his role as described by, by Jeff, during the war that, uh, again, as Jeff just said, uh, lockers infamously dissembled throughout his, uh, writing career about the degree to which he did any spying and the significance there of, and really it was only in more recent later interviews that, um, at least he dissembled a bit less. Um, and to some extent, I think that was a bit of a necessity after the biography was published.

Speaker 17: (44:30)

That was Beth

Speaker 5: (44:31)

Haka, Mondo speaking with Gary Dexter and Jeff quest to listen to the full podcast, go to junkie.

Ways To Subscribe
With the CDC’s approval, kids ages 5 through 11 are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting today, but many parents are still reluctant to get their children vaccinated. Plus, San Diego restaurant owners react to the city initiative that will make sidewalk dining permanent. Also, a North County nonprofit is working to make reintegration back into society easier for people getting out of jail or recovery centers. And, 9 million veterans in the U.S. get medical care through the VA each year, inewsource investigative reporter Jill Castellano is back with the second of her two-part series on the federal health care system. Meanwhile, San Diego Zoo geneticists revealed two condor chicks there are the first known cases of reproduction without fertilization, called parthenogenesis, in California condors. Finally, in an excerpt of the “Cinema Junkie” podcast, guest Gary Dexter explores how the film adaptations of John Le Carré's novels offered a realistic counterpoint to James Bond.