Morning Brief: LA’s Vaccine Inequity Mirrors The Rest Of The County
Good morning, L.A.
As local data is collected and processed, the emerging picture of vaccinations in L.A. County is mirroring the picture from across the country: Black and Latina/o Angelenos are being vaccinated at a much lower rate than other populations.
The most recent data shows that more than twice the number of white, Asian and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander residents have received the vaccine than Black and Latina/o residents.
While some have pointed to the Black community’s mistrust of the medical community to explain the disparity, Dr. Jerry Abraham, director of vaccine programs at Kedren Health, disagrees.
“Misinterpreting lack of access for hesitancy was to me very offensive, because the Black and brown health care workers that came [to vaccine sites] came with their sleeves rolled up, and they were ready for a vaccination,” he said.
Data from other states shows the same trend; according to a Kaiser Health News analysis, 1.2% of white Pennsylvanians had been vaccinated as of mid-January, compared with 0.3% of the state’s Black residents. Inequities have also been found in Maryland, Nevada, Texas, Washington state, North Carolina, and dozens of other regions.
Many residents, advocates and experts have expressed concern that state and local officials are prioritizing speed over equality when it comes to vaccine distribution. Those concerns were exacerbated when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California would move to age-based eligibility once residents over 65 are vaccinated.
Another concern is line-cutters; officials in L.A. recently reported that some people appear to be giving their second dose appointments to others, so they can receive a first dose.
Writing in The Washington Post, medical experts (and twin sisters) Uché and Oni Blackstock propose four solutions to vaccine inequity: putting Black Americans on the priority list, explicitly using race and ethnicity as a qualifying factor; identifying accessible vaccine sites in Black communities; public education campaigns; and the mandated collection of racial and ethnic data on vaccinations.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- The problem with vaccine line cutters.
- A Boyle Heights clinic serving primarily Latino and Indigenous communities reports a 40% COVID-19 positivity rate.
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ban on indoor worship violated First Amendment guarantees.
- For most of this week, L.A. County vaccine supersites are reserving their available appointments for second dose recipients.
- L.A. County’s new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are decreasing, but deaths remain steady.
- A new mass vaccination site opened Saturday at Cal Poly Pomona.
- Some SoCal legislators want amusement parks to reopen sooner rather than later.
- Shutdowns have hit zoos hard, where the cost of daily animal care remains constant.
- Teachers say Black history should be taught year-round, not limited to one month.
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