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Blacks and Latins in LA lag behind COVID-19 vaccine

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COVID-19 vaccination coverage for older people in Los Angeles County has increased dramatically over the past decade, but county health shows that Latin and black residents are significantly more than white and Asian Americans. Due to low levels of vaccination, inequality continues to undermine vaccine deployment Data released Friday.

About 25% of black residents aged 65 and over, or about 30,000, have been vaccinated at least once with the COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of 18 points from February 9, according to data released by the Public Health Service on Friday. I am. The number of Latino seniors who received shots reached 29%, an increase of 14 points from the beginning of this month.

In contrast, 42.8% of older Caucasians have received at least one shot, as 39.4% of Asian Americans do. Overall, nearly 43% of the elderly in the county, or 584,370, are vaccinated at least once.

Since the inequality in access to vaccines became apparent, county and state officials have doubled efforts to facilitate the vaccination process for older people in the color community. The federal government has set up a mass vaccination site in California, California, near public transport. The county has moved to open more vaccination sites in the color community, aiming to expand transportation options for people with cars.

However, the data show that the problem continues. “The findings are deeply related to the deep-rooted health inequality that exists in our society and provide further explanation,” said Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Scientific Officer of the LA County Public Health Service. Stated.

Significant disparities are also reflected in additional data showing immunization rates by neighborhood. Data show that residents of the wealthier, whiter areas of Los Angeles County have much higher immunization rates than low-income color communities.

Cities and neighborhoods where more than 25% of the population has been vaccinated at least once include Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Century City, Cibiot Hills and Rolling Hills Estate.

However, areas where less than 9% of the population was vaccinated included a large area of ​​South LA and South East LA County, including the cities of Southgate, Lynwood, Maywood, Compton, and Cudahy. .. Antelope Valley and Los Angeles districts such as Koreatown, North Hollywood and Little Armenia.

Simon said at a press conference on Friday that his department would prioritize higher doses for vaccine providers with the lowest vaccination rates and book more vaccine reservations for residents of those communities. Next week, he said, the agency will allocate about 7,000 more doses to residents of southern Los Angeles and up to 2,000 doses to residents of Antelope Valley.

Vaccination rate disparities are seen across states.

Of the more than 6.9 million doses given in the state, the majority (about 32%) are given to Caucasian residents, according to data from the California Public Health Service. Only 2.9% of vaccinations occurred among black residents and 16% among Latin residents. Approximately 13.9% of vaccinated people have been identified as “multi-race” and there is no further explanation. 12.1% are identified as “Other” and 8.7% are identified as “Unknown”.

Proponents of state officials and various communities say the low numbers are due to lack of access to vaccines and hesitation in vaccines. In addition, people in the black and Latin communities have historically had shorter lifespans than white residents, so state eligibility for people over the age of 65 is for those who can be automatically vaccinated. Created an imbalance. This is especially true during a pandemic.

COVID-19-related mortality rates for black residents are 7% higher than state-wide mortality rates. According to state data, Latin American mortality is 21% higher.

The county has expanded the number of vaccination sites in the color community, but many of those providers are frustrated because they have no control over who enrolls in their open appointments.

“That’s why our capital is small,” said Holly Mitchell, a supervisor who includes many of the county’s black residents in District 2, at a recent board meeting.

The state is working to address this issue by assigning specific booking blocks to people living in high-density neighborhoods with limited healthcare providers, among other factors that make them more susceptible to coronavirus. I will.

California surgeon Dr. Nadine Burke Harris said Friday that a shortage of supplies at Virtual Town Hall exacerbated the problem and that skilled people navigating the booking system would serve black and Latin population groups. He said he had appeared in the intended area.

“Therefore, we can see that people from all over the city are finding a way to get that promise, even if they are vaccinated at a local community clinic that has historically served the color community.” She said.

Some experts point out that the imbalance of vaccines in the white and Asian populations is the opposite of how shots are distributed when the goal is to delay the transmission of the virus. They say that if the infection does not spread to all communities, the outbreak will continue, as the virus will continue to spread to those places and then reach others.

“It will hinder our ability to control things,” said Richard Carpiano, a medical sociologist at the University of California, Riverside.

Carpiano said that new health treatments and tools are generally not distributed fairly, leaving a gap in who receives the new protection.

Distrust of the healthcare community among black residents and a shortage of healthcare providers in certain areas may be part of the driving force behind the trend, he said. Latin Americans may be reluctant to trust government programs or put their names in databases.

“It’s sadly not surprising to me that these inequality are beginning to appear in racial immunization rates,” Carpiano said.

At a county supervisory board meeting on Tuesday, director Hilda Solis will assign more vaccines to independent pharmacies, faith-based organizations, schools, and local clinics in the color community by the end of February. Will be proposed.

Some of these clinics receive very small doses of vaccine. Boyle Heights Clinica Monsenor Romero serves mainly Spanish-speaking Latinos and indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America. I’ve only taken it 100 times recently Moderna vaccine from the county to treat a population of 12,000 patients.

Solis, who chairs the board of directors, Said in her move Fair allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine is essential to control the pandemic.

According to early reports from the COVID-19 vaccination site, the language barrier is effective vaccination of more than 4 million counties in need of medical services in languages ​​other than English, Solis said. It is one of the challenges that hinders.

The county’s vaccine deployment program initially relied heavily on healthcare providers to act as vaccine providers. In short, color communities without clinics, chain pharmacies, and clinics were far fewer vaccination sites than high-income communities.

“If you want to be truly healthy in Los Angeles, you need to make sure that everyone in Los Angeles County is vaccinated, regardless of race, language, document status, income, or zip code. There is, “says Solis.

Times staff writer Cindy Calcamo contributed to this report.

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