FLORIDA — Local community leaders in Florida are making a statewide push to get encourage Black and minority groups to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Florida Statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Community Engagement Task Force is planning to work with Go. Ron DeSantis to create accessibility of the vaccine in under-served communities.
Dr. RB Holmes, Task Force Chair and Organizer Pastor at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and President of Tallahassee Chapter of the National Action Network said the group's plan is to get 60 to 70 percent of Black and minority communities vaccinated in the state of Florida.
"We know that sadly and unfortunately, people of color are dying disproportional," Dr. Holmes said. "This is one battle that we can not sit out."
The task force will identify 25 cities across the State of Florida to build health clinics and neighborhood distribution centers with special emphasis on partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
One of those is Florida A&M University, which Holmes said will act as a fiscal, trusting agent to the task force.
"We hope the task force adopts getting HBCUs as hubs for vaccination sites as well," said FAMU's president Dr. Larry Robinson. "We have the credibility in our community."
The task force also plans to ask the Governor to expand Medicaid and Legislators to pass bills and laws that provide funding and incentives, especially in healthcare, for communities that have been treated unfairly resulting in overall inequities for many years.
"This a one voice, one vision, one movement, to save precious lives," Dr. Holmes said. "We are committed to making a positive difference in the State of Florida and decrease the number of African Americans who are dying because of COVID-19."
The fifty member task force includes faith leaders, university leaders, health care professionals, community liaisons, and local, state and national elected officials.