Florida: Black community numbers for COVID-19 vaccinations lower than other races

Just shy of 40,000 Black Floridians have received the COVID-19 and that is a very small percentage of the community.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The proof is in the numbers. There is a stark contrast between Florida’s Black communities and white communities when it comes to the number of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The two main reasons for the disparity from those we talked to? No. 1 is fear and No. 2 is accessibility.

According to the Florida Department of Health, a little over 38,000 Black people have been vaccinated in the state of Florida compared to just over 494,000 white people.

The Florida Department of Health has been working with places of worship to boost the number of vaccinations being given out, but is that enough?

Community Activist James “Munch” Mungin II said that the church isn’t the main stable in the community anymore.

“That has changed. There are community centers around. There are other resources around. Me, personally, I don’t that’s enough.”

Danny Agnew, co-found of the Roots Collective, addresses the subject of fear.

“We are scared of taking a vaccine and then our health is affected negatively by it,” Agnew said.

That skepticism among the community is nothing new. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment in the 1930s is just one example in which a disease progressed without treatment.

And, yes, we are now in 2021 and modern medicine has progressed, but culturally there’s still a barrier.

“I think the state, I think the federal government needs to have a better communication plan within the Black community,” said Senator Shevrin Jones (D-35). “My mom and my dad got it. I think people should start sharing their stories,” Jones said.

At the Koinonia Worship Center & Village on West Hallandale Beach Boulevard in Pembroke Park, a vaccination distribution happened on the weekend of Jan.9. Those who got the shot at that distribution will return Jan. 31 for the second dose.

Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that she is working on a robust rollout plan to get the vaccine into the minority and underserved communities.

About the Authors:

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.