TAMPA, Fla. — Data shows white Americans appear to be getting the coronavirus vaccine at higher rates compared to minorities. Nonprofits across the state are working to make sure communities of color have equal access to the vaccine.
Healthcare professional Viviam Sifontes was one of the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
"I understand how difficult it is for a lot of us. There's a lot of uncertainty and fear," she said.
Sifontes volunteers at the Hispanic Outreach Center, which recently held a vaccine clinic of its own. Preliminary data from early January showed Black and Hispanic Americans were lagging behind in getting the vaccine. However, the center's CEO Jaclyn Boland said the boots on the ground approach is helping getting the word out.
"In this fast paced digital world just to remember that not everyone is able to attend info sessions on zoom and use technology and really to have kind of a slowing down, to realize we need to meet people where they are," Boland said.
As of this week, state data shows a little over 364,000 Hispanics, and a little over 191,000 Black Floridians, have received the vaccine.
Boland said nonprofits can help be that pipeline by collaborating.
"They should reach out to the Dept. of Health and get involved. And work with other neighborhood or community centers that are or can be hosting events in the future and partner with them and volunteer work together to do the outreach to reach out to the communities, she said.
As more people get the vaccine, Sifontes hopes to lead by example, to help those statistics even out.
"The more Hispanics see other Hispanics like me getting the vaccine and showing the normal person who hasn’t really changed, I’m not sick, I’m just the same. I think that people are being more relaxed."