Wealthiest Los Angeles County neighborhoods continue to see highest vaccination rates

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Registered nurse Justine Bertulano gives Yolanda Estrada-Saporito of Garden Grove her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Saturday in Gardena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Registered nurse Justine Bertulano gives Yolanda Estrada-Saporito of Garden Grove her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Saturday in Gardena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

In Los Angeles County, wealthier neighborhoods and beach communities on the Westside are seeing some of the highest vaccination rates, far outpacing lower-income areas in South and East L.A.

More than 45% of the population is vaccinated in neighborhoods such as Brentwood, Westwood, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes and the coastal communities of Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo beaches, according to data from the Department of Public Health. Even wealthier areas not in the western region have vaccination rates just as high, like Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge.

Meanwhile, parts of L.A. County such as Compton and Boyle Heights are seeing less than a third of the population receive any vaccine shots. The lowest rates countywide — where less than 27.5% of the population has been inoculated — are in Lancaster and parts of South L.A. including Watts, Florence and the cities of Huntington Park and Compton.

But that disparity is widest when it comes to residents 65 and older — the age group with the highest number of people vaccinated overall. About 77.4% of people in that age group have been vaccinated, according to Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for the Department of Public Health.

“Many Westside communities and beach communities have vaccination rates of 90% and many other affluent areas have rates above 80%,” Simon said, referring to rates among those 65 and older. “While many of the lower-income communities have rates of far below 50%.”

Throughout the pandemic, some of the hardest hit areas of L.A. County were less affluent communities such as Boyle Heights, a neighborhood with some of the lowest vaccination rates. In Boyle Heights, nearly a third of the population is living below the poverty level. By comparison, neighborhoods such as Rancho Palos Verdes, Pacific Palisades and Manhattan Beach have less than 7% of their population living below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census data.

As of Friday, the mortality rate among COVID-19 patients in the poorest areas of the county remains more than three times as high as the death rate among the richest L.A. neighborhoods.

The county has worked to reach lower-income communities through the efforts of mobile vaccination clinics and work with faith leaders and other community outreach organizations, officials have said. Simon said they will target those efforts using the new data reported Friday.

In total, a little over 6.6 million people have been vaccinated across L.A. County, Simon said.

About 30% of people ages 16 to 29 have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine and an estimated 41.5% of those between 30 and 49 have gotten a shot, he said. For those 50 to 64, about 53.3% of the population have received a vaccine shot while 66% of those 80 and older have.

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