The COVID-19 pandemic is a critical global public health concern that has disproportionately affected the African American community in the United States with Black adults more susceptible to health risks linked to severe COVID-19 infections than their white counterparts. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), in terms of hospitalization, Blacks have COVID-19 hospitalization rates that are almost 5 times more than Whites. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that these COVID-19 racial health disparities have been linked to a number of racial structural disadvantages such as inequity in health care utilization/access, systemic economic deprivation, quality of life, and variations in pre-existing underlying health conditions.
The City of Miami Gardens (CMG) is the largest majority-Black City in Florida and the third-largest municipality in Miami-Dade County. Largely due to its ethnic make-up (70.8% Black and 24.6% Hispanic), the CMG is also one of the state’s largest concentrations of chronic disease and related risks. In an effort to address vaccine hesitancy within the CMG, the CDC provided funding to the City’s Live Healthy Miami Gardens Initiative (LHMG) to implement the LHMG Vaccination Coverage Project.
To address the following research question, (How do COVID-19 vaccinated Miami Gardens residents differ from those who have not been vaccinated in terms of their perceptions of COVID-19 vaccine and medical mistrust as it relates to taking the vaccine?), a mixed-methods (qualitative and quantitative) Rapid Community Assessment (RCA) was created and conducted by a research team from Florida Memorial University (Dr. Max C. E. Orezzoli) and St. Thomas University (Dr. Jodi Grace). The RCA’s focus is to better understand the barriers to vaccine uptake and identify and address drivers of vaccine hesitancy to -> inform and equip Influential Community Messengers/Networks in order to -> increase vaccination opportunities and enhance provider partnership in the CMG. The RCA’s findings and recommendations are included in the report below:
– Dr. Max Orezzoli, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences