Where is Riverside County most, least vaccinated? – Press Enterprise

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About 60% of Riverside County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but rates vary widely across the county, from over 80% in a couple of cities in the Coachella Valley to the mid-40s in Norco and Canyon Lake, according to newly released data.

County health officials made public for the first time this month a new COVID-19 dashboard that provides a detailed look at vaccination rates, including by age, gender and race/ethnicity, for the county’s 28 cities as well as 36 unincorporated communities with at least 2,000 residents.

“It’s a good resource for people to find easily digestible information for their own communities, both on vaccinations and cases,” said Wendy Hetherington, the county health department’s chief epidemiologist, who said the new site was possible thanks to some additional staffing as well as improvements in the system the county uses to get data from the state.

The highest vaccination rates are in the Coachella Valley — 86% of residents are fully vaccinated in Rancho Mirage, 80% in Palm Springs, and more than 70% in Palm Desert, Indian Wells and Cathedral City.

Northwest Riverside County generally has rates near or above the countywide average, including 68% in Eastvale, 62% in Riverside, 60% in Corona and Moreno Valley, and 59% in Jurupa Valley. Norco is the exception at 46%.

Rates get a little lower in the mid-county region, with Beaumont, Banning and Calimesa all close to 60%, Hemet at 55% and San Jacinto at 52%.

Southwest Riverside County has the lowest rates, ranging from 58% in Temecula and Menifee, to the mid-50s in Lake Elsinore, Perris, Murrieta and Wildomar, to 47% in Canyon Lake.

The city at the very bottom of the list — at just 26% — is Blythe. But health officials said California’s data system doesn’t communicate with other states’ systems. With Blythe situated on the Arizona border, it’s possible more residents are vaccinated but got their shots elsewhere.

Here are some generalities about who has and hasn’t gotten vaccinated — and which communities in Riverside County are overperforming or underperforming their neighbors. The analysis doesn’t include unincorporated communities with fewer than 10,000 residents, because numbers are less reliable when small places are sliced into even smaller demographic categories.

Older people tend to have high vaccination rates

Countywide, 84% of people age 65 and up have been fully vaccinated (at least two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one of the Johnson & Johnson version) and 60% have received at least one booster shot.

That rate is 100% for seniors in Eastvale, Indio, Coachella, Temescal Valley, French Valley and El Sobrante, according to the county data. It’s over 95% in Temecula, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta.

Only 51% of seniors in Blythe are fully vaccinated, while communities in the San Jacinto Valley and the Pass area also have low rates — it’s below 70% in Valle Vista, East Hemet, San Jacinto, Mead Valley and Good Hope.

Sean Rodriguez, 11, from Riverside, receives his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Sherri Williams, LPN, at a pediatric mobile vaccine clinic run by Riverside County at St. Catherine of Alexandra Catholic School in Riverside on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. (File photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Younger people are not as highly vaccinated

The younger the age group, the lower the rate: Countywide, more than half of teenagers are fully vaccinated. Kids 4 and younger only became eligible this summer and very few of their parents have taken advantage so far — only 1% are fully vaccinated while another 3% have received one of their two shots.

The by-community data shows rates for children age 5 to 17. At 51%, Coachella is the only city where a majority of kids in that age range are fully vaccinated. Cathedral City, El Sobrante, Eastvale and Palm Desert are all above 45%.

Uptake for kids has been lowest in Canyon Lake (17%), Blythe (19%), Norco (28%) and Good Hope (29%).

Women are more likely to be vaccinated than men

That’s true in 35 of the 38 communities examined in this analysis. The largest gap is in Banning, where 69% of women but just 54% of men are fully vaccinated. Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Calimesa, Hemet, Menifee, Beaumont and La Quinta also have a difference of more than 10 percentage points between the two genders.

But there’s one glaring exception: Palm Springs. About 88% of men are fully vaccinated, but only 54% of women are.

Hetherington said her staff confirmed those numbers were correct. She wasn’t sure why that would be, but offered a couple of theories: It could be related to the city’s large gay community. She also said the county had done a lot of outreach among the Coachella Valley farmworker community, which is mostly male, and wondered if some of them reported addresses in Palm Springs.

“It’s definitely something we need to look into more,” she said.

Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage were the other two places where men had higher vaccination rates, although by a much smaller margin.

There are racial disparities in vaccination rates

Looking at Riverside County’s four largest racial and ethnic groups, Asian residents have the highest rates, with about 74% fully vaccinated, compared to only 48% of Latino residents. In the middle are White residents at 56% and Black residents at 54%.

But many cities have much wider gaps. Some of the widest are in the Coachella Valley.

In Indian Wells, 83% of White residents and 64% of Asian residents are fully vaccinated, but only 28% of Black residents and 25% of Latinos residents are.

Among Palm Springs residents, 94% of White people are fully vaccinated, while the rate is 63% for Asian people, 54% for Black people and 48% for Latino people.

Other communities with large disparities include Coachella, Perris, Indio, Cathedral City, Moreno Valley and Home Gardens.

Coachella has one of the largest gaps between its White and Latino vaccination rates — 100% to 58%, respectively — but that 58% is actually the highest rate for the Latino population of any community in Riverside County.

The only other communities where more than half of Latino residents are fully vaccinated are Cathedral City, El Sobrante, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, Indio, Valle Vista and Palm Desert.

The picture is a little better for the Black community in some cities — more than 80% are fully vaccinated in Calimesa, Beaumont, Lake Elsinore and Menifee.

Economic disparities are less pronounced

Although the community vaccination data was only released publicly this month, Hetherington said the county has long been sharing it with other groups it partners with on vaccination campaigns.

She said officials use current COVID-19 vaccination, case, hospitalization and death rates as well as something called the Healthy Places Index, which is a measurement of how advantaged or disadvantaged a community is, to create a priority list of which communities should be targeted.

The county works with community-based organizations that are “trusted messengers” to the people there, helping them provide education, vaccines and other resources that may be needed. Those efforts have been successful, particularly in the Coachella Valley, Hetherington said.

While communities with higher poverty rates do tend to have lower vaccination rates, the difference isn’t huge.

In the 10 communities with the highest vaccination rates, collectively, 14.1% of residents live below the poverty line, according to 2020 census data. In the 10 communities with the lowest rates, 14.5% live below the poverty line.

Political persuasions play a role

Conservatives have been less willing to get vaccinated than liberals, and that trend holds true locally.

In the Riverside County cities that Joe Biden won in the 2020 presidential election, about 62% of residents are fully vaccinated, compared to 55% in cities that backed Donald Trump.

But there are some exceptions. About 60% of Indian Wells voters supported Trump, the fourth-highest rate of any city in the county. Indian Wells also has one of the county’s highest vaccination rates, with three-quarters of residents covered. A likely reason: The city’s median age is just over 67.

Perris is an outlier on the other side. Almost 71% of its voters backed Biden, but its vaccination rate is below the county average, at about 55%.

Elsewhere in the Inland region

Vaccination data by community has been publicly available in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties for well over a year now, although their data doesn’t include the detailed demographics that Riverside County’s now does.

According to the county public health departments, 73% of Los Angeles County and 54% of San Bernardino County residents are fully vaccinated.

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