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The percentage of vaccinated Los Angeles County residents who have gotten COVID-19 booster shots is significantly lower in poorer neighborhoods than other areas, a troubling trend officials say could leave already hard-hit communities exposed to a potential surge over the winter.

In the county’s high-need areas, only 6.9% of fully vaccinated people eligible for additional COVID-19 shots had received a booster as of Nov. 11, health figures show. The areas were identified using, among other things, a socioeconomic measurement tool called the California Healthy Places Index, and include places such as South L.A., southeast Los Angeles County, the Eastside, the eastern San Fernando Valley and El Monte.

Booster coverage in wealthier areas has been significantly higher, at 12.6% as of Nov. 11, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

“We’ve seen uptake patterns suggesting that people in the hardest-hit neighborhoods are not getting booster shots as frequently as those in other L.A. County neighborhoods,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

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