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Data from the Healthy Places Index (HPI), a platform created by PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California, helped Los Angeles county health officials prioritize COVID -19 vaccine outreach and distribution to under-reached communities of color in late 2021. 

In Los Angeles County the percentage of vaccinated residents who had received COVID-19 booster shots was significantly lower in poorer neighborhoods than other areas, and overall vaccination rates remained lower for Black and Latinx county residents.

Using HPI and other data sources, the Los Angeles Times found that in the county’s high-need areas, only 6.9% of fully vaccinated people eligible for additional COVID-19 shots had received booster shots, compared to 12.6% in wealthier areas. Primary vaccination rates also remained lower for Black and Latinx county residents, with 54% of Black residents and 59% of Latinx residents having received at least one vaccine dose, compared with a countywide rate of 75%.The inequities were even wider among children of color, with only 3.9% of Black and Latinx children being vaccinated in the lowest HPI quartile, compared to 12.5% in other communities. 

County health officials used this data to target vaccination resources to these areas. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Times, “Every time we’ve had a big surge in cases, disproportionality in health outcomes has affected our Black and brown residents the most. If we don’t do better, there could be even greater disproportionality in health outcomes by race and ethnicity if we experience another surge.”

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Achieving Vaccine Equity: Resources & Best Practices to Bring Down Barriers

To stop the spread of COVID-19, we must ensure easy, equitable access to vaccines—starting with communities that are made most vulnerable due to systemic inequities. Find tools, resources and best practices to support vaccine equity in your community.

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