The race to vaccinate as many Los Angeles County residents as possible while more potentially contagious coronavirus variants continue to be detected is colliding with lagging efforts to steer shots to people of color and underserved communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic.
County health officials have been able to ramp up the pace of vaccinations after the initial slow rollout, but supplies still remain extremely limited. So far, more than 1.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to the county’s 10 million residents — about 12% of the population, according to county data released Friday.
There are now more than 400 sites across the county administering doses, from mass vaccination centers such as Dodger Stadium to local community health clinics and pharmacies.
While the number of people receiving vaccines has increased as more distribution sites opened, data released last Friday by the county showed stark disparities among those inoculated, while highlighting gaps across the county’s communities.
A map of the data shows that vaccines are going disproportionately to wealthy areas of the county, such as communities in the Santa Monica Mountains, San Gabriel Valley foothills and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Affluent Mandeville Canyon and Bel Air in Los Angeles are among the most highly vaccinated communities, at 32% and 31% of residents, respectively. Watts and Compton are on the lowest end, with 6% and 7% vaccination rates, respectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately devastated the region’s Black and Latino communities since last spring.
Yet, data released Friday showed that those groups continue to be vaccinated at a significantly lower level than whites and Asian Americans, a disparity the county’s vaccine chief called “unjust and unacceptable.”