ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — State data shows Black and/or Hispanic Floridians make up about 40% of Florida’s population. But they’ve only received 13% of all vaccines so far.
Health experts warned of racial disparity before the first COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S., and it’s a problem that’s persisted through the vaccination process so far.
For the past several weeks, the percentage of vaccinated Black Floridians has hovered around 5%.
That’s despite Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state announcing initiatives aimed at improving the equitable distribution of the vaccine.
At Carver Park Senior Living Apartments, several residents who were asked said they haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet.
“It seems like we have to continue to fight for everything,” Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill said.
Knowing many seniors in her district couldn’t get to an appointment even if they secured one,
Hill has been working to get vaccines to senior living apartments. And the residents signed up.
But on Tuesday, they learned those doses would no longer be coming.
In an email, Dr. Raul Pino with the Orange County Health Department said “the state did some reallocation of doses they’d marked for expansion of our operations.”
The health department said when the state reallocated doses, they decided to prioritize already-scheduled appointments.
The problem is, the population with appointments has consistently skewed whiter than the state’s overall population, a group that is three times less likely to die from the virus.