Sep 9, 2021 - Health

Latinos have higher vaccination rates in big cities

Picture of a doctor wearing a white coat administering a vaccine to a person wearing a cowboy hat
A doctor administers COVID-19 vaccine for NYC Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr. at Doctor Medical Urgent Care in the Bronx, which serves a large community of people of color. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The number of Latinos getting vaccinated against the coronavirus in some of the most populated cities in the U.S. is slowly increasing.

Driving the news: Latinos have surpassed whites in the percentage of fully vaccinated adults in New York City. They represent 29.1% of the city's population and non-hispanic whites are 32.1%.

In other cities, such as Houston, Texas where Latinos represent nearly half of the population, their vaccination rates are also higher: The Houston Health Department has administered approximately 32% of its vaccines to Latinos and 28% to whites, as of Wednesday.

The other side: In Los Angeles, which is 48.5% Latino and non-Hispanic whites make up 28.5%, whites' vaccination rates (69.8%) are still higher than Latinos' (60.1%).

  • In Chicago, where Latinos are 28.8% and non-hispanic whites are 33.3% of the population, 60.1% of whites and 14.2% of Latinos have been vaccinated.
  • In Austin, Texas, where Latinos are 33.9% and non-hispanic whites are 48.3% of the population, 33% of vaccine doses have been administered to Latinos and 41% to whites.

The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more Latinos than whites have received at least one dose since early August. As of Saturday, 40% of Latinos and 39.6% of whites had received one dose.

  • White adults account for 57% of unvaccinated adults, according to recently released research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

What's happening: The most recent Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index shows that vaccine hesitancy in the country is dropping, with fewer adults than ever now saying they won't take the shot.

  • Among the causes could be the Delta variant's dominance, full-FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, return to in-person classes.

Yes, but: People of color, particularly Blacks and Latinos overall "remain less likely than their white counterparts to have received a vaccine, leaving them at increased risk, particularly as the variant spreads," according to KFF.

  • For Latinos, barriers include difficulty traveling to a vaccination center or fear of missing work due to possible side effects.

By the numbers: The CDC reports that race/ethnicity is known for 58.7% of people who have gotten at least one dose. Among this group, Latinos represent 17.2% and whites are 61.2%.

  • But data shows that in the past 14 days, recent vaccinations reached a larger share of Latinos compared to overall vaccinations: 26.1% vs. 17.3%.

Zoom in: Between March 1 and Aug. 16, the share of vaccines going to Latinos increased, going up by at least 10 percentage points in six states, KFF writes, including

  • Florida, from 17% to 31%
  • Nevada, from 13% to 26%
  • California, from 19% to 30%
  • Texas, from 23% to 35%
  • New Jersey, from 6% to 17%
  • New York, from 9% to 20%

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