ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill and Commissioner Robert Stuart announced a new partnership Friday to provide more resources for seniors when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Florida Department of Health, only about 6% of the more than 2.8 million people vaccinated in the state are Black.
Some African American seniors living on the west side of Orlando, like Lauretha Fudge, said they feel like they’re not being heard or given an equal opportunity to get the vaccine.
“We are overlooked, they don’t care about us, but we are a part of the community,” Fudge said. “The most of us are not computer savvy, so we just have to wait. If there’s a vaccination site close to us, they still can’t get there because some of them can’t drive.”
Fudge said a majority of the seniors who live in the same west Orlando complex are African American and don’t have access to the vaccine.
“We have people living there up to 94 years old in our building. They’re moving around but can’t do anything outside. They’re stuck like the most of us,” Fudge said.
Hill and Stuart announced a new partnership with the Equal Ground Education Fund, a Black-led nonprofit as well as local transportation services including Pegasus Transportation and LYNX.
Equal Ground Education Fund will be reaching out to seniors living in the underserved areas of west Orlando including Parramore, Pine Hills and Rosemont through robocalls and text messages to provide information and resources to help register for the vaccine.
Pegasus Transportation and LYNX will be offering free transportation for seniors who need it to get to and from their vaccination sites.
“We’re doing this to make sure that this vaccine saves our grandmothers, grandfathers and aunties so they won’t have to come home to what I come home to daily: My brother in a urn at the young age of 52,” Hill said.
Hill’s brother and aunt lost their lives due to COVID-19.
“We want to make sure there’s no barrier to those people in getting a shot and being served the health care needs of our community,” Stuart said.
Hill said seniors who need help in west Orlando registering for the vaccine can call her office at 407-246-3033.
To get a free ride to vaccination sites, LYNX requires proof of a vaccine appointment. To schedule transportation, call Norm Hickling with LYNX at 407-423-8747.