DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach is one of four Florida communities identified by the National Association of Broadcasters that has large vaccine-hesitant populations.
County health leaders said they are now looking at new outreach initiatives to help educate the community about the vaccine.
Patricia Boswell, the administrator for the Volusia County Health Department, said if she had to grade the vaccine rollout in the county, she would give it a B-minus.
“We really have a long way to go,” Boswell said.
Boswell said 49% of the county’s eligible population is vaccinated, but the county can do better.
“Let’s stop this virus and the only way out right now is vaccine,” Boswell said.
News 6 is learning some in the county are the most hesitant to get the shot. The National Association of Broadcasters, along with the Biden administration and Ad Council, put together a list of cities across the country with communities of large vaccine-hesitant populations.
Daytona Beach is the only Central Florida community to make the list.
Boswell said the data backs up the NAB’s findings.
According to the state’s latest vaccine report, more than 241,000 people in Volusia County have at least one shot. Of the people who have at least one shot, 5% are Black, 8% are Hispanic and 65% are white.
“We still have a long way to go to getting all of our residents, all of those individuals who are eligible for vaccine, vaccinated,” Boswell said.
Boswell said they have found a few main reasons why people may be hesitant to get the vaccine, including fear of the dangers of side effects, concerns over how fast it was developed, mistrust of the government and conspiracy theories.
“So, we have to really dispel that and help people understand the importance of getting vaccinated and even vaccinating our children,” Boswell said.
Boswell said outreach will play a huge role in reaching vaccine-hesitant communities. Her team is working on plans to partner with barber shops and hair salons to encourage stylists to talk to their customers about getting the vaccine. She said they’re also partnering with local colleges to create street teams of volunteers to go out into the community to educate people about the vaccine.
She adds the only way we can bring an end to the pandemic is for everybody to do their part and get the shot.
“It’s time that we stop the transmission of this virus, and we all need to get behind it,” she said.