Florida Governor DeSantis Must Make Plan for Equitable Vaccine Access

UnidosUS sent a letter Wednesday urging DeSantis to take immediate action to ensure Hispanics and other marginalized communities have vaccine access.

WASHINGTON, DC— Hispanics in Florida have been testing positive for COVID-19 at more than double the rate of White residents, per state numbers, yet they and other marginalized groups are being vaccinated at half the rate of White Floridians.

On Wednesday, UnidosUS sent a letter co-signed by dozens of fellow civil rights groups in Florida to urge Gov. Ron DeSantis to take steps to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines that would fairly include Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and other underserved communities of racial, national origin, and religious diversity and eliminate vaccination gaps.

“Governor DeSantis has not done nearly enough to vaccinate Florida’s communities of color. That is why he needs to take immediate action to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” said UnidosUS Florida State Advocacy Director Jared Nordlund. “As hurricane season approaches, Floridians are reminded of the importance of effective planning and preparation: Making a plan for vaccine distribution should be no different. The state of Florida needs to prepare people for vaccines with the same intensity as it does for natural disasters, and that starts with a comprehensive plan centered on input and expertise from local community organizations.”

On top of ensuring equitable access to vaccines, the letter calls on DeSantis and his government to build trust with communities of color and to provide transparent information that tracks vaccination progress within these communities. The letter requested a meeting with DeSantis’ office to discuss common sense solutions to getting Floridians vaccinated.

UnidosUS recently launched the Esperanza Hope for All campaign in an effort to promote vaccine equity nationally. The $15 million effort aims to inform Latinos about the various COVID-19 vaccines and ensure that they are able to get them wherever they live, including in Florida.

“Florida’s Hispanic, Black, Asian and other marginalized communities of racial, national origin, and religious diversity have carried our economy on their backs throughout this crisis, and now it is time for state leaders to have their backs,” Nordlund writes.