Florida revokes Orange County’s access to COVID-19 database after release of vaccine information

Distribution by zip code shows disparities in lower-income neighborhoods

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County health officials no longer have access to a critical statewide database that gives local decision-makers information including on COVID-19 vaccine distribution rates.

The move to revoke Orange County’s access to the Florida Department of Health database came after the county turned over three heat maps as part of a public records request.

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The maps show vaccine distribution rates by zip code and do not disclose any exempt or personal information. WFTV was the first to report the state pulling access to the database.

News 6 has been asking for similar public records from the Florida Department of Health since January. However, no records have been provided from the state. Officials at DOH have also ignored News 6′s requests for a status update on when reporters can expect the records.

Orange County vaccine distribution as of March 23, 2021 (WKMG 2021)

Under Florida’s Sunshine Law, officials are expected to provide public records in a reasonable amount of time. Records can be kept from the public if the information is considered exempt under state law.

News 6 reached out to state and county health officials to find out what information might be considered exempt in the heat maps that were provided, but have not received a response.

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