Morning Brief: Jumping The Vaccine Line, Fighting Fire With Fruit, And Jazz In LA
Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 25.
The inequity of vaccine distribution has been well-documented; white, Asian and more affluent communities are more likely to have received the vaccine than low-income, Black or Latino communities.
But now, a new type of unfairness is manifesting. Access codes intended to allow essential workers and those over age 65 in Black and Latino communities — the communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic — somehow got into the hands of white, affluent people, and led to their getting vaccinated before they were eligible.
The story was originally reported in the L.A. Times. At Tuesday’s meeting of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Board Chair Hilda Solis noted that people from more affluent neighborhoods have been lining up for shots at Boyle Heights’ Ramona Gardens housing complex, reports my colleague Lita Martinez.
"I am disgusted … about the behavior of people in the public that are not being responsible,” Solis said, “and actually allowing those communities that are the hardest hit to be able to stand in line and get their vaccine."
Vaccine inequity has been reported since the vaccines were rolled out. At the beginning of February, some experts expressed concerns that California state officials were prioritizing speed over equity; getting as many people vaccinated as possible, no matter who those people were.
As the month has progressed, those fears have played out. By Feb. 5, officials released preliminary reports showing that Black and Latino Angelenos were less likely to have received the vaccine than white or Asian residents.
A few days later, the county’s public health director called the number of Black people in L.A. who had been vaccinated "shockingly low," saying they highlight a "glaring inadequacy" in how the vaccine is distributed.” Those trends mirror what’s been happening throughout the rest of the country.
State officials, having discovered the abuse of access codes, have said that they will work on revamping the system.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- An innovative way to prevent wildfires from engulfing homes: banana trees.
- A UC Berkeley professor is advocating for basing electricity bills on household income.
- In the Southwest, the poorest neighborhoods are, on average, four degrees hotter than the wealthiest communities.
- All swimming areas in Long Beach, west of Belmont Pier, are closed after a sewage spill contaminated the water.
- A new state law waives $25 million in business fees for restaurants and salons forced to close last year because of COVID-19 restrictions.
- Disneyland is reopening — as a food court.
Before You Go … Take A Look At L.A.’s Jazz History
Leon Hefflin was a dreamer, a serial entrepreneur, a breaker of color barriers and the producer of the Cavalcade of Jazz, a trailblazing annual music festival that L.A. Sentinel columnist Herman Hill once called "the biggest outdoor entertainment event of its kind in America."
Hefflin’s work contributed to a time when South Central L.A. was the heart of the jazz scene on the West Coast, thanks to nightclubs like Club Alabam on Central Avenue. The nearby Dunbar Hotel was a legend in its own right, playing host to Black jazz greats like Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
Help Us Cover Your Community
- Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
- Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.
The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Never miss an LAist story. Sign up for our daily newsletters.