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District 6 Commissioner Bakari Burns Says Problems With Accessibility, Not Vaccine Hesitancy Are to Blame for Black Residents Not Getting Vaccinated

Photo: Commissioner Burns and a resident talk vaccines.
Photo: Commissioner Burns and a resident talk vaccines.

District 6 Commissioner Bakari Burns held a canvassing event today at the Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center asking residents about vaccine availability. 

Burns says Black residents are being vaccinated at a lower rate than other minorities in the community. 

He says in Orange County more than 58,000 white people were vaccinated, while only about 7,200 Black people got the vaccine. 

“So it troubles me the disparity in these numbers. And some may say that it’s vaccine hesitancy, but what I’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is that more people are ready to take this vaccine, it’s just not been available.”

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Burns says the closest vaccine site at the Walmart in the Washington Shores area is only doing 20 vaccines a week. His own clinic has not received any vaccines yet.

He says along with a shortage of shots, many seniors are also struggling to enroll. 

“So one of the things that my office will be doing. We will be taking the names and numbers of seniors who have expressed a desire to get the vaccine. We’re going to be keeping that list and as these appointments open up we’re going to be taking it upon ourselves to register them ourselves.”

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Burns says his office will also try to coordinate transportation for these seniors to vaccine sites.

His district has been hit hard by COVID-19, as many people in the community are essential workers who cannot work virtually.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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