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Concerns are mounting over the continued low vaccination rates among Black and Latino residents in Los Angeles County as California heads into winter facing another coronavirus surge and bracing for the rise of the Omicron variant.

Los Angeles County’s vaccination numbers in communities of color now lag significantly behind several San Francisco Bay Area counties — including San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara — data show, despite what L.A. area officials describe as aggressive outreach in Black and Latino neighborhoods.

Authorities have been struggling with the disparity since vaccines became available. But the situation is becoming more urgent, with coronavirus cases rising significantly in recent weeks and the specter of a swiftly spreading Omicron variant looming. Vaccinations are a central strategy to fight both the Delta and Omicron variants, with a push for people to get their first doses as well as boosters.

California health officials have warned that coronavirus case rates statewide have risen by almost 50% in the last 2½ weeks, and COVID-19 hospitalizations are up by nearly 15%. Vaccination rates statewide, although better than in many places, are still far from ideal: 65% of Californians of all ages are fully vaccinated, and only about 30% of fully vaccinated adults have received a booster shot.

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