COVID-19 has turned deadlier for Black Californians

and they have the state’s lowest vaccination rate

California’s African Americans are dying from COVID at a higher rate now. And they make up a disproportionate and growing share of the death toll for middle-aged Californians.

Deondray Moore sat in a plastic folding chair, rolled up his sleeve and got his first COVID-19 shot in the parking lot of Center of Hope Community Church in Oakland a week ago. He was the last in his family to get vaccinated after putting it off for more than a year, and only acquiesced because he wants to be in the delivery room when his son is born this summer.

“My mom has been trying to get me vaccinated forever, since the (vaccines) came out,” Moore said. “My partner got it quick, and her kids got it as fast as they could. She wasn’t playing around. She was like ‘Don’t miss out on the baby.’”

The 35-year-old Oakland native, an African American, knows multiple people who have contracted COVID-19 and died. Moore wears a mask and doesn’t go out much. But he’s suspicious of the vaccine and the way it was developed. “I just don’t trust the government,” he said.

African Americans, who have a litany of historical reasons to mistrust public health officials and doctors, have the lowest vaccination rate in the state, at 55%.

COVID-19 has become deadlier for Black Californians since the widespread availability of vaccinations, and vaccine hesitancy could be among the reasons why. Other races, which have higher vaccination rates, have seen death rates rise, but not as dramatically.

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