As more residents struggle to secure appointments for COVID-19 vaccines in South Florida, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava has signed an emergency order calling for accountability and equal distribution of the vaccine throughout all communities.
"We are in a state of emergency and we need to ensure vaccines are equitably distributed across all communities and no one is left behind," Levine-Cava said Friday.
The emergency order requires hospital systems, municipalities and other sites administering COVID-19 vaccines to publish daily updates on their progress. Levine-Cava said this includes total numbers of vaccines received and sites where vaccines are being administered.
The order also says that hospitals should make sure they have ample supply of the vaccine before making appointments available to residents.
"[...]Hospital systems and other entities providing vaccines should *not* provide appointments unless the hospital system or entity has already received vaccine doses and has a good forecast of the number of people they'll be able to vaccinate," Levine-Cava said.
New state data shows a huge racial disparity in vaccine distribution in South Florida. In Dade, nearly 91,000 white residents are vaccinated, compared to 8,200 Black residents. In Broward, 9,100 of 105,000 vaccines distributed went to the Black community.
”History tells us that between the (Tuskegee) syphilis experiment and other problems and challenges, that health care has not been the most helpful for African Americans. So because of that, there's a hesitation out there," said Pastor John F. White II of Immanuel Temple A.M.E.
Pastor White is with one of dozens of religious organizations now partnering with Jackson Hospital to close the gap.
Lack of technology, fear and mistrust are some of the reasons for the racial disparity.
“I’m concerned because they're probably scared. I was at first," said 71-year-old Shirley Kemp, who got vaccinated Friday in Opa-locka. "But I had to realize that this is here for a reason. God didn't just put it here for it to be here. It's for our own conveniences and our own lives to be saved."
In addition to county-run sites, medical centers and hospitals are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments to eligible seniors and health care workers. Click here for a full list.