Florida outperforming the nation in black COVID mortality rate

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 12:04 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Governor’s Office and the Department of Health are pushing back against claims of disproportionate outcomes for Africa Americans in Florida.

A prominent Black Pastor is calling Florida’s vaccine rollout for Blacks a model for the nation.

307 small crosses were on display at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Friday, marking the first anniversary of the first COVID death in the State Capitol.

“Death is death,” said Reverend RB Holmes.

Reverend Holmes has been leading a statewide effort of Black pastors to vaccinate African Americans.

We asked if there is an impression that Florida is doing worse at protecting African Americans from the virus.

“Well, the data does not say that,” said Holmes.

State data shows the mortality rate for Blacks in Florida is 149.5 per 100,000.

The death rate for blacks nationally is 215 per 100,000.

“We’re doing thirty percent better actually. So mortality rates are thirty percent lower amongst Black Floridians when you compare us to the national Black mortality rate,” said Florida Deputy Secretary for Health Shamarial Roberson.

More than 115,000 African Americans have been vaccinated at black churches in Florida.

Reverend Holmes says Florida can be a national leader.

“The Governor decided to open up and work with churches to do pop up clinics in African American communities. I think that has moved the needle,” said Holmes.

And the state told us the pausing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have no impact on vaccinating Black Floridans.

In total more than 520,000 Black Floridans have received at least one vaccine dose, but a reluctance is slowing the vaccination rate for Black Floridians.

Rev Holmes said he hopes to have shots in 70 percent of black arms by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Deaths per one death per hundred thousand for white Floridians is 150.5 per hundred thousand, slightly higher than the rate for Black Floridans.

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