Florida Health Department reports 20% difference between vaccinated white and Black Floridians

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Right now, approximately 59% of Floridians aged 12 and up are vaccinated. It’s a number city and state officials are hoping to grow.

However, a smaller number is telling a bigger story. According to the Florida Department of Health, as of last week, 43% of vaccinated Floridians are white and 23% are black.

“All of us are going to have to do a better job in encouraging people of color to get vaccinated. People are dying,” NAACP Jacksonville Branch President Isaiah Rumlin said.

A 20% difference between vaccinated white and Black Floridians is raising concern among community members.

Some locals want help from the city.

“What the city must do and can do and do it immediately: They must put money into the African American community and the brown community,” Rumlin said.

Others say the city offered help, making it readily available.

“Quite frankly, I think we’ve done a lot at the local level as well as the state level. We’ve had vaccination locations in the communities, at the churches,” Wayman Temple AME Church Pastor Mark Griffin said.

Griffin said most African Americans don’t trust the government. He stressed spreading the word through the community.

“So don’t listen to what the government says but listen to people that are in your community that you trust that have been vaccinated,” Griffin said.

He said to get your shots.

“Three or four weeks from now, when the number of African American deaths in Duval County goes up, don’t blame city council. Don’t blame the mayor. Don’t blame the government,” Griffin said. “Blame yourself because you had the chance to get the vaccine before you got sick and you chose not to do so.”

Action News Jax reached out to the Duval County Health Department and the City of Jacksonville for comment. Neither were available to speak on camera Thursday.

The city, however, sent us this statement via email:

“There is continued outreach by our local health department (POC Richard Ward, duval health department) can provide more specifics.

“Also, there was a considerable amount of outreach done by the State and Federal government not to long ago when we were doing vaccinations all over the city and specifically in the referenced communities.

“We had a Federal vaccination site (Gateway Mall) with outreach teams going out daily to encourage people in that area to get vaccinated.

“We had a State vaccination and testing site at Regency Square Mall.

“We had a State run vaccination site at Edward Waters University formerly EWC ran by Agape Health. There was also outreach with that site.

“We had a state run vaccination and testing site at the Legends center, outreach was done there.

“We did vaccinations at Mandarin, Lane Wiley, Clanzel T. Brown Centers earlier this year.

“Also, Faith-based groups in the African American communities were used as vaccination sites working with the State.

“Finally, we had 41 days of mobile vaccinations being performed at various libraries in the areas being discussed.

“There has been considerable outreach and continues to be outreach to encourage vaccinations.”