Florida’s vaccine partnership with Publix leaves low-income and Black neighborhoods without easy access to distributors of vaccine in the largest metro areas.
Poor people in rural areas, face long drives to the nearest Publix pharmacy, and the issue emerged as public officials in Palm Beach County complained that the state has made Publix the primary source of vaccine in their county, leaving poorer residents without an easy way to get it.
The grocer’s absence from low-income urban areas is from Jacksonville to Tampa to Miami. Residents of Belle Glade need to travel 25 miles to reach the nearest Publix in Loxahatchee, The distance from Pahokee is 27 miles; from South Bay it’s 32 miles.
Publix pharmacies are absent in poorer areas northwest of Orlando, but many of the pharmacies surround the Walt Disney World Resort and the tourist-heavy Kissimmee area.
This illustrates the hazards of the state’s decision to rely heavily on a private business to distribute vaccine in a state with the nation’s highest concentration of vulnerable senior citizens, as Publix administers vaccines in 20 of the state’s 67 counties, but only Palm Beach County in South Florida.
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