More underserved communities receiving COVID-19 vaccines across Florida, experts say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The state and federal government have been sending vaccines directly to federally qualified community health centers such as True Health.

Those centers provide services in underserved communities, and 60% of their patients are minorities. So with vaccines going directly to them, more Black and Hispanic Floridians have rolled up their sleeves.

“We have a nice flow of supply coming in,” said Deana Montella, chief nursing officer of True Health.

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Black Floridians make up 16% of the population in the state, and 9.7% of those vaccinated in Florida are Black, according to data.

Hispanic people make up 27% of the population, and 23% of those vaccinated identified as Hispanic.

Scientists know that there is some lingering hesitancy.

READ: Efforts ongoing to increase vaccinations in Central Florida’s minority communities

“Those that are cautious, we’re spending our time educating, and a lot of our time is spent there now,” Montella said.

Now, Montella and the team at True Health are working harder than ever to close that gap and get people vaccinated.

“Even if it takes two conversations, three conversations, and that makes them feel comfortable … that’s one more step towards herd immunity.”

READ: FEMA opens mobile COVID-19 vaccination sites to reach underserved communities

The state has also been setting up mobile one-day pop-up sites in some neighborhoods and churches to help get more shots to minority communities.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.