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The Lincoln Park Covid-19 vaccination site on February 19 in Los Angeles. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California residents in affluent communities are taking up COVID-19 vaccination appointments meant for underserved communities of color, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

Why it matters: Although Gov. Gavin Newsom has frequently stressed the importance of establishing equity in the state’s vaccine rollout, affluent white and Asian-American Californians are still receiving the vaccine at higher rates than Black and Latino residents in underserved areas, per the Times.

The program was created to implement fairness in vaccine distribution. It gives special access codes to people in largely Black and Latino communities to make appointments on a vaccine scheduling website.

Between the lines: Wealthy Los Angeles residents – many of whom are not yet eligible for the vaccine - have gained access to the codes through group texts and messages, according to the Times, and were able to make appointments at Cal State Los Angeles.

  • Cal OES spokesperson Brian Ferguson told the LAT that the program is new and the challenges are being addressed. “In order to solve for that, we’ve taken steps to ensure we’re auditing, monitoring how the codes are used very carefully," he said.

The big picture: This is just one example in a larger racial disparity seen in early vaccine distribution in the U.S. An AP analysis found that Black people are being vaccinated at lower levels than the general population even though they make up a large portion of the nation’s health care workers.

Go deeper

Feb 23, 2021 - Health

Nursing home COVID cases have drastically declined

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Michelle McGhee, Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of coronavirus cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities has drastically declined over the last two months, almost certainly an effect of vaccinations.

Why it matters: Nursing homes have been devastated by the virus, which is why residents were among the first Americans to be vaccinated.

Feb 23, 2021 - Health

Pfizer and Moderna expect to double vaccine shipments by spring

UCHealth pharmacist Marissa Kim prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 20 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Moderna and Pfizer plan to significantly boost vaccine shipments to the U.S. government by this spring, according to written testimony from company executives released Tuesday ahead of a House committee hearing on vaccines.

Where it stands: Pfizer expects to increase its weekly vaccine delivery from 4-5 million doses at the start of February to more than 13 million doses by mid-March, said John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer.

Feb 22, 2021 - Health

Over 500,000 dead from coronavirus in U.S.


Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than half a million people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: The death toll is larger than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. It comes just one year after the country's first coronavirus death was confirmed.

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