By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s a huge problem with the vaccination disparity in the country right now.

According to Bloomberg’s COVID vaccine tracker, less than 4% of African Americans in Florida have received a single dose of the vaccine.

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Dr. Kevin Stephens from UnitedHealthcare said it’s more than just a matter of access to the vaccine.

“I think there’s a lot more to it. Some of it is access, but a lot of it is just resistance and just hesitancy because of just insecurity about the vaccine because of things in the past and so forth,” he said.

Dr. Stephens said overcoming that resistance, whether it’s the COVID vaccine or even the flu shot, starts with talking about mortality rates.

“Yeah, you know, if the past is a prologue for the present, then we know from the America’s Health Rankings that about 36% of African Americans got the flu shot as compared to 46% of Caucasians. But that is still very low,” he said. “And so, I think, one of the things we have to do is really say, ‘Look, the mortality rate.’ If you look, we have had over 500,000 deaths in the year time, which is more than World War I and World War II put together.”

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The doctor added that highlighting comorbidities would also help to get more people on board with getting vaccinated.

“We know African Americans have a generally a higher prevalence of obesity, diabetes and hypertension. And so you have greater risk just because of your environmental status. And so we really have to do everything we can – face mask, social distancing of six feet as well as be vaccinated,” he said.

UnitedHealthcare has a new online vaccine resource tool. According to the doctor, putting in your ZIP code will find the nearest FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine resources near you.

He added it’s updated daily so that they “have a very accurate repository for all of the places that you can get it,” though it’s not 100% complete.

Dr. Stephens concluded his interview letting vaccine-hesitant members of the African-American community know that he’s taken it.

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“I think that you have to look at your risk factors, and you have to talk it over with your provider,” he said. “But we know it’s 95% effective against having severe illnesses and deaths. So that’s really a big problem. So I highly suggest that you consider it.” Team