Vaccines are not available to some black communities in Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (AP)

The predominantly black farming community on the shores of Lake Okeechobee is at least 25 miles (40 km) away from the nearest Publix supermarket. This is a problem because Governor Rondesantis has given the only distribution of the coronavirus vaccine chain in Palm Beach County.

As a result, the mayors of Belgrade, Pahawky and South Bay sent a letter to DeSantis this week asking them to expand the county’s distribution network because many older people in these low-income towns are unable to take pictures. .. Some say it’s a problem for poor communities throughout the state.

They want to set up distribution sites in lower-income areas, as Florida does in other parts of the state. For example, DeSantis held a press conference on Wednesday and announced that it would set up two sites in a predominantly white senior community near Tampa and Orlando. The state limits vaccines to residents aged 65 and over and front-line healthcare providers.

Sugar cane is the king of Belgrade and its neighboring communities. More than half of US production comes from this region. According to the Census Bureau, about 5,000 of the total 32,000 residents are 65 or older, with a median household income of about $ 26,000. It is on the federal poverty line for a family of four.

“Why do people in the Glade community have to drive 35 or 40 miles to get the vaccine? Not everyone has a public,” said Steve Wilson, Mayor of Glade, Wednesday. Said to. He said there are Walgreens and CVS drugstores available in his area. “You are talking about an elderly person over the age of 65 who may not be able to drive.”

The region’s leading county commissioner, Melissa McKinley, fears that DeSantis will let Publix handle distribution in nearby Hardy, Hendry, and Glaze district counties, despite the lack of stores in the chain. Said.

“I’m happy that Publix is ​​involved, but that’s not all,” she said. “I do not know.”

Publix declined to comment on the distribution of the vaccine in the Belgrade area on Wednesday and introduced the question to the governor’s office.

DeSantis said Palm Beach County approved the Publics program two weeks ago. About 90% of the elderly live within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of Publics, the state’s largest grocery chain and a major donor to Desantis’ political action committee. .. There are 67 Publix stores in Palm Beach County that distribute vaccines, but no in the northwest corner of the county.

The DeSantis press office did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, DeSantis visited Sun City Center, a predominantly white retired community near Tampa. So he said the vaccination site would manage the shots for its 24,000 inhabitants. He said another would serve the 15,000 resident Solivita senior community near Orlando. The median household income for these communities is $ 50,000.

The Black Community in Palm Beach County is significantly undervalued among vaccinated people. Overall, about one-third of the county’s 375,000 older people receive at least the first dose, according to the State Department of Health. However, only 3% of county vaccinations are given to recipients registered as blacks, well below 20% of the population they make up. The actual percentage of black recipients may be slightly higher, as one in six people who received shots in the county did not list their race.

Democratic Mayor Dave Kerner, who supports the Republican Governor’s pandemic efforts, said Palm Beach County has a higher proportion of vaccinated population than Miami-Dade and Broward County. Since the outbreak began, the county has recorded 103,000 cases of coronavirus and 2,125 deaths. The state has recorded 1.7 million cases and 25,600 deaths.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that he would increase the supply of doses sent to the state by about 16%. The state health department said it plans to administer 307,000 initial doses. In addition, the state expects an additional 254,000 booster shots to arrive to help complete the vaccination of approximately 1.3 million Floridians who have already received the first vaccination of the two-shot vaccination regimen.

However, access to vaccines has been a concern among the poor and advocates of the color community throughout the state. Some argue that the Belle Glade issue requires state authorities to reconsider whether all residents of Florida over the age of 65 have easy access to the vaccine.

Miriam Harmatz, Secretary-General of Florida Health Justice, said: business.

Vaccines are not available to some black communities in Florida

Source link Vaccines are not available to some black communities in Florida

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