Fewer Black Americans are getting vaccinated in Florida, report shows

Residents say they’re frustrated over lack of access to shots for Black communities

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – There’s a big racial disparity for the COVID-19 vaccine, according to recent numbers. Across the country, data shows Black Americans are getting the shot at a much lower rate, despite being adversely impacted by the virus.

The Florida Department of Health said that of the 1.6 million people vaccinated Sunday, more than 1 million were white, compared to 81,000 black people. In Orange County, 47,000 white people got vaccinated Sunday, compared to only 5,000 Black people.

Dr. Francoeur Cadet, at Orange Blossom Family Health in Orange County, told News 6 he knows there’s a lack of trust in the Black community, but there’s also a lack of access for Black people. He cites the process being complicated, a lack of advertising in Black communities and the vaccine not being readily available at many community health centers where minorities usually get their primary care.

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“You have to know the location, and you may not have transportation. There are a lot of barriers, and it may not be that simple,” Cadet said.

He told News 6 that more of his Black patients are asking to be vaccinated now compared to when the rollout first started. Cadet said that Orange Blossom Family Health on Orange Blossom Trail could get COVID-19 vaccines as early as this month.

Many Orange County residents told News 6 the lack of access in the Black community is frustrating.

“We’re on our own with this vaccination, and for us to be affected by it the most, we should have more resources, and we should have more people trying to help us get vaccinated,” said Orange county resident Tanya Cheaney.

Cheaney said she recently got her second dose because she works for a health care company, but for people like her mother in Orange County, she said the access is low.

“For Black people especially, there aren’t that many places you can go to be vaccinated right now,” Cheaney said.

Freddie Mays, 83, from Washington Shores, agrees.

“Seems like they should set up some places for the black people to go in their neighborhood,” Mays said.

On Sunday, we saw Black Orlando leaders getting results after pushing to get 500 seniors vaccinated at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. There’s also been a large push by many city commissioners and leaders to try and get more black people vaccinated in their community. Residents say they’re thankful for that.

When asked about the racial disparity of the vaccine rollout in Florida, Gov. Ron Desantis said there is no racial discrimination in the rollout at hospitals, grocery stores or any community site. He said it’s all based on age, not race. He also said the distribution of the vaccine at Black churches has helped with vaccine trust.

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