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Florida’s Black, Hispanic communities lag behind in COVID-19 vaccination rates, data shows

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Statistics tell the story – people in Black and Hispanic communities in Florida are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in less numbers than their Caucasian counterparts.

South Florida leaders are hard at work to encourage people in these communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Carlos Hernandez, the mayor of Hialeah, a majority Hispanic community, said he is concerned about vaccine hesitancy and the possible impact of misinformation spreading on social media.

“I am doing an outreach campaign,” he said. “I am on radio and television, especially Spanish channels,” he said.

State vaccine data and census counts reveal that statewide, minority communities lag behind.

36% of Florida’s white population has been vaccinated, compared to 24.4% for Hispanics, and 17.3% percent for Blacks.

Dr. Dwight Reynolds, an emergency medicine physician, said he sees that people are hesitant especially after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on pause by the FDA after the potential for fatal blood clots was discovered.

In Miami Gardens, the state’s largest Black majority city, Vice Mayor Reggie Leon said he’s doing everything he can to make the vaccine accessible to those in his community.

There is a vaccination site on the city’s trolley route. “Now you just come to the park in your community and get a shot,” said Leon.

At the Brentwood Pool Park vaccination site, there’s a unique partnership underway with Black-owned medical group Worldsafe First, where doses are administered by Black doctors and nurses.

“We wanted to make sure we had people who looked like us, so that we can build that trust amongst our community in administering the shots,” Leon said.

Reynolds agreed: “People want to go to sites that have people who look like them.”

At the Brentwood Pool Park site on a Thursday afternoon there were empty chairs all around and staff waiting for people to show up to get a vaccination.

We asked Reynolds: “Does it worry you that we are doing this interview surrounded by empty chairs?”

“Yeah, good question. I am not worried, I am concerned,” he said. I am concerned because we know that it kills more people of color than our Anglo counterparts.

Leon said they’ve begun going even further out into their community. They are also canvassing neighbors going door-to-door.

“We have capacity, but we need to have people here to put it in arms,” Reynolds said.

Looking at the Numbers

36% of Florida’s white population has been vaccinated

24.4% of Florida’s Hispanic population has been vaccinated

17.3% of Florida’s Black population has been vaccinated

Total Statewide Population: 21,477,737

Total People Vaccinated Statewide (as of April 28, 2021): 8,684,024

White: 5,825,376

Of total people vaccinated statewide 67% identify as Caucasian

Caucasian census (2020 Census): 74.5% or 16,010,079

36.4% of Florida’s Caucasian population has been vaccinated

Total Statewide Population: 21,477,737

Total People Vaccinated Statewide (as of April 28, 2021): 8,684,024

Hispanic: 1,382,051

Of total people vaccinated statewide 15.9% identify as Hispanic

Hispanic Census (2020 census): 26.4% or 5,663,629

24.4% of Florida’s Hispanic population has been vaccinated

Total Statewide Population: 21,477,737

Total People Vaccinated Statewide (as of April 28, 2021): 8,684,024

Black: 594,725

Of total people vaccinated statewide 6.8% identify as Black.

Black Census (2020 census): 16% or 3,441,062

17.3% of Florida’s black population has been vaccinated