Study highlights Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine disparity

ORLANDO, Fla. — So far, Florida has been sent 5.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and distributed 4.3 million; however, the majority of those doses have gone to the state’s White residents despite a higher rate of infection and death in the state’s Black and Hispanic population.

On Friday, FEMA announced it would be opening vaccine distribution centers in four Florida cities: Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami. All four sites will be located in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, including the Valencia College West Campus location, which is in a zip code that is 55% Black.

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According to numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 78% of the state’s vaccinations have gone to White residents, even though White residents make up just 75% of the state’s population and only 40% of the cases.

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Meanwhile, Hispanic residents make up 27% of the state’s population and 24% of the state’s deaths but have only received 16% of the vaccinations.

For Black residents, who make up 16% of the population, vaccines have only been distributed to 6% of the population.

“We’re going to continue to be an advocate for the people who live here that they receive the vaccine that they’re interested receiving,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings at a press conference on Monday. “The demand at this point far outpaces the supply that we have in our community.”

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In Orange County, just 116,222 vaccine doses have been administered even though the county has a population of 3.1 million. A stark contrast to Lee County, where according to the Florida Department of Health, 104,923 have been distributed to a population of just 770,000 residents.

On Tuesday, at an event in Hialeah, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Miami-Dade Navarro Pharmacies and Select C-V-S locations would start administering shots as well.

“Once appointments are made vaccinations will begin later this week,” said DeSantis. “Each site will perform over 100-shots a day.”

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.