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Latino, Black Californians ramp up vaccinations but lag far behind Asian, white residents

A vaccine clinic.
Students are checked in to be vaccinated with the Pfizer shot at the Manual Arts High School basketball and gym building in downtown L.A. in May.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

There’s a promising sign in California’s efforts to get more Latino and Black residents vaccinated: They’re now getting shots at a relatively faster rate than other racial and ethnic groups.

The overall disparity in the percentage of Latino and Black Californians who are at least partially vaccinated is still troubling: Only about 35% of Latino and 36% of Black residents are at least partially vaccinated, while 52% of white, 49% of Native American/Alaska Native and 63% of Asian American/Pacific Islander residents are at least partially vaccinated, according to a Times analysis of state data.

But over the last month, the percentage of Latinos who were at least partially vaccinated climbed from 28% to 35% — accounting for a relative percentage jump of 26%, the fastest among all racial and ethnic groups.

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The percentage of Black residents who received at least one dose rose from 30% to 36% over the same time period, accounting for a relative percentage increase of 20%.

The percentage of Native American/Alaska Native residents at least partially vaccinated rose from 41% to 49%, accounting for a relative percentage increase of 19%.

Among Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the percentage of those who received at least one dose of vaccine rose from 53% to 63%, accounting for a relative percentage increase of about 18%.

Finally, the percentage of white Californians who were at least partially vaccinated rose from 46% to 52%, a relative percentage increase of 13%.

The statewide trends mirror those in Los Angeles County.

While there’s cause for hope, more intensive efforts to vaccinate Latino and Black residents — who have been among the hardest hit in the pandemic — are needed, officials say.

“While we’re seeing increases in vaccination uptake across communities with lower vaccination rates, the relative increases are not enough to close the gaps,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

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“Over these next few weeks, as we prepare for our full reopening, we do need to double down on our efforts to reduce any barriers to vaccination in hard-hit communities,” Ferrer said.

“Our goal in doing this is to ensure that these communities are not more vulnerable to rising cases and outbreaks when there are fewer public health safety modifications in effect at the places where residents and workers are intermingling with people outside their households,” Ferrer added.


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