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Florida Sees Big Racial Disparities On COVID-19 Vaccine Access

A woman waits with her 97-year-old mother for a COVID vaccination in Aventura.
Mike Stocker
Ketley Joachim sits with her mom, Suzanne Noel, 97 from North Miami Beach after she received her vaccine during an interfaith COVID-19 vaccination drive at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center in Aventura Florida hosted in partnership with a mosque and Black churches on Feb. 4.

The COVID-19 vaccination rate remains low among Black and Hispanic Floridians despite initiatives announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis to bring more shots to underserved communities.

Now, the federal government has stepped in. The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to open four mass vaccination sites in Florida with one at Miami Dade College’s North Campus and the others in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville. Around each site, two mobile units will go into nearby underserved areas and give out 500 vaccinations a day.

The mobile units are the latest effort to address a stubborn disparity in the distribution of COVID vaccinations in Florida. With about 2.5 million vaccines given so far, 10 percent of white Floridians have been vaccinated compared to just 4% of Blacks and 4% of Hispanics. That disparity is even starker in Palm Beach County.

Read more from our news partner the Sun-Sentinel