Navigating Covid-19 vaccine information can be difficult for many. That’s why Spectrum Bay News 9 has compiled a number of information resources to help with any questions that arise. 

According to the CDC, as of March 15, more than 71 million people have been vaccinated in the U.S. Out of those vaccinations, only half reported the race/ethnicity of the people vaccinated. Those numbers showed 66.1% of white people were vaccinated, 8.6% of Hispanics and 7.6% of Black people have been vaccinated. 

Those numbers are concerning to many because of how much more likely certain races are to die from Covid-19 complications. The CDC data shows that Black or African Americans are 2.9 times more likely to be hospitalized from Covid-19 complications and 1.9 times more likely to die when compared to their white counterparts. The numbers from American Indians and Hispanics are just as devastating. 

The CDC list race and ethnicity as risk markers for other underlying conditions that affect health, including socioeconomic status as a reson for those increased factors among people of color. Access to health care and exposure to the virus related to occupation, e.g., frontline, essential, and critical infrastructure workers are also listed as contributors to those hospitalization and death rates for people in Black and brown communities.


There are currently three Covid-19 vaccines that received emergency approval from the FDA. That authorization makes medical countermeasures, like vaccines, available in an emergency. The approval is only given when there’s a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threat, including infectious diseases. 

The first vaccine to receive emergency authorization was made by Pfizer-BioNtech. It is a two shot vaccine administered three weeks apart, into the upper arm. According to the CDC, the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing Covid-19 in people. New data shows the vaccine is 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, severe/critical disease, and death. 

The second vaccine to receive emergency authorization was made by ModernaTX, Inc. It is a two shot vaccine, into the upper arm, given 28 days apart. CDC data shows the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses, who had no evidence of being previously infected. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines use mRNA technology

The latest FDA Emergency use authorized vaccine was made by Johnson and Johnson. The Janssen vaccine does not us MRNA technology but experts say that doesn’t make it any more or less safe. The J&J vaccine only requires one shot in the upper arm. According to the CDC, the vaccine is 66.3% effective at preventing Covid-19. It is also most effective two weeks after getting vaccinated. ​


Florida’s Department of Health has up to date information on who is eligible for the vaccine along with information on where to get vaccinated in your county.

Counties in Florida are also using a patient portal to register for the vaccine once you’re eligible. 

If you want to get vaccinated but you don’t have a ride, Florida Medicaid is offering rides to vaccination sites. 

The DOH in Pinellas County has visited more than a dozen faith communities and community organizations to help administer hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations to bridge the health equity gap. Hillsborough County has taken similar steps.

Ask the Experts - Facebook Live

Our experts went live on the Spectrum Bay News 9 Facebook page and took questions from many different people in our community.


In our special, Justice for All: Vaccination Hesitation in the Black Community, a number of experts answered questions about how the vaccine works, how it was created so quickly, and why it’s safe to get the vaccine. 

Here are the experts we spoke to: 

Dr. Alric V. Simmonds

Dr. Alric V. Simmonds, Jr., MD is a board-certified general surgeon in Orlando. Dr. Simmonds earned his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health in 1999. He went on to complete his medical residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Simmonds specializes in breast cancer surgery, endocrine surgery (thyroid/parathyroid) and hernia repair surgery. Learn more about Dr. Simmonds...

Dr. Keith Ferdinand Bio

Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHA, FASH, FNLA began his medical career with a BA in biology from the University of New Orleans. He then went on to earn an MD from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC, an internship at the US Public Health Hospital in New Orleans, an internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at LSU Medical Center and a cardiology fellowship at Howard University Hospital, Washington,D.C. After years of doing clinical work, research and teaching at Xavier University, LSU, Baylor College of Medicine, and Emory University, Dr. Ferdinand returned to New Orleans as a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute. Learn more about Dr. Ferdinand...

Dr. Kevin Sneed Bio

Dr. Sneed is a tenured Professor and the founding Dean of the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy. He also serves as Senior Associate Vice-President for USF Health. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Sneed received his Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy, where he received numerous clinical and leadership awards. He completed an Ambulatory Care/Primary Care Pharmacy Practice Specialty Residency at Bay Pines Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. Learn more about Dr. Sneed...

Dalya Washington, PharmD, CPh, RPh.  - Ask the Expert Facebook Live Session

Pharmacist at Health Matters Pharmacy Consultant Pharmacist and Founder of DAW Consultants, Llc.

Dr. Washington graduated from Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy in 2007 and has worked in many areas of Pharmacy. She is passionate working in the undeserved communities.

Dr. Vondalyn Wright - Ask the Expert Facebook Live Session

Owner of Health Matters Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in East Tampa.

Accomplished Doctor of Pharmacy with a passion for helping the community. Dr. Wright has created innovative solutions through developing Black-owned businesses. A mentor to many as she heavily focused on advancing future black pharmacists and entrepreneurs.

Erika Hall, APRN-C - Ask the Expert Facebook Live Session

Erika Hall is an autonomous Nurse Practitioner with over 19 years of healthcare industry experience. She is a Tampa native and USF graduate who decided to stay and work in the Tampa community she grew up in.

Four years ago, Erika opened her own practice , Advanced Mobile Medical Services, to provide quality and convenient healthcare solutions for busy working adults.

In addition to providing primary care services, Erika has been working on the frontlines for the last eight months to provide care for Covid-19 patients.

She's traveled to locations such as: Edinburg , Texas and Kissimmee, Florida, and more recently the Tampa Bay area providing free Covid-19 test to those that qualify.

Currently, Erika is waiting for the Federal Government to approve her order and ship out vaccines, so she can help vaccinate the constituents of the Tampa Bay area. Erika can be reached at