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The Challenges Of Vaccinating LA’s Black Community

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RN Ebony Thomas (L) administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Cecilia Onwytalu, 89, at Kedren Community Health Center, in South Central L.A. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)
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Despite promises of an equitable COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Black Angelenos over 65 are the least vaccinated of any racial group, according to data from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

There are lots of reasons, including: a lack of easy access to health care and the internet, mistrust of the medical system due to systemic racism, “vaccine chasers” who come in from wealthy, mostly white areas to snag appointments, and a glitchy statewide online appointment system.

Some of those factors come into play for Gregory Williams, a 64-year-old semi-retired finishing carpenter in West Athens who has no computer, no smart phone, and hesitancy about vaccination:

“A lot of my friends I've talked to, they are skeptical, really skeptical. You don't know if this is good or bad, you don’t know what to trust.”

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