Cases of COVID-19 have passed 123,300 in Palm Beach County as of Mar. 8. However, 185,479 Palm Beach residents have received both doses of the vaccine. Current vaccine distribution has been focused on Florida residents aged 65 and older, healthcare workers, and those in long-term care facilities.
“As we get into the general community, the vaccines are going to be targeted where the risk is the greatest, and that is in our elderly population,” stated Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Those vaccine rollouts will soon be extended to more people. School district staff, police, and firefighters aged 50 and older were offered vaccines and prioritized. Jackson Health System has created plans to vaccinate those aged 55 and older with at least one medical condition. However, non-residents will be excluded from Florida vaccinations to prevent people from coming to Florida simply to get vaccinated. That would contradict the state’s goal of reducing COVID-19 cases due to increased travel.
As of Mar. 8, the county death toll is at 2,510. The death rate for Palm Beach County is 2.04 percent, which is higher than the state rate of 1.06 percent. However, the positivity rate is lower than the statewide one. Florida has a 6.97 percent positivity rate while Palm Beach County has one of 6.68 percent. The county has set up eight testing sites inside its borders. It is considered a hotspot due to its larger population even as new cases and deaths are trending downwards across the state as the second wave ends.
“In all the clinical trials so far, and that’s about 75,000 that have been included in these trials, no one had gotten the vaccine has died,” stated Dr. David Dodson, an infectious disease expert at Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Once the vaccine becomes available to more people, it is important to note that both doses must be with the same type of vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots that are three weeks apart. It can be given to people 16 and older, although regional government and medical facilities are not typically vaccinating people at that age. Moderna’s vaccine also needs two shots. However, they are one month apart and can be given to people 18 and older. Both companies are trying to reduce this age to allow young elementary-aged kids to be vaccinated.
Palm Beach County will receive a large shipment of vaccines to allow for continued vaccination. Many locations had shortages and had to cut vaccination numbers. This is due to weather complications in other parts of the nation. The shipment is scheduled to arrive with double the doses to account for the lost shipment.