Task force aims to vaccinate Black Floridians

FILE - Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are sits in a container as healthcare workers are inoculated, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FILE - Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are sits in a container as healthcare workers are inoculated, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A newly formed task force aimed at vaccinating Florida’s Black community for COVID-19 convened for the first time Wednesday morning.

The group of health care workers, pastors, historically Black colleges and universities, and Black leaders is hoping the state will work with them in their pursuit.

Recent Census estimates put Florida’s Black population around 3.4 million, or 16.9%.

But Black Floridians account for 22% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 17% of total deaths.

“This is a sense of urgency,” said the Rev. R..B Holmes of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.

The newly formed task force has made vaccinating 60% to 70% of Black Floridians for COVID-19 its mission.

Currently, Black Floridians make up less than 6% of vaccinations given so far.

“It is incumbent upon this task force to encourage family members and friends and members of our congregations and people that we associate with, colleagues, to follow us in rolling up our sleeves to take the vaccine,” said Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson Jr. of the 11th Episcopal District.