About five months after shots began, half of Flagler County’s entire population of 115,000 has received at least one covid-19 vaccine shot so far. But Only 31 percent of those younger than 65 have received a vaccine.

If the 15,000 or so people who are younger than 15 are excluded, the proportion with vaccines in those between 15 and 65 rises to 38 percent in Flagler–still less than half the proportion considered in the range of herd or community immunity. (Only 171 Flagler County residents 14 and younger have been vaccinated). Among those 65 and over, 85 percent have received at least one shot, well above that proportion.

Significantly more women than men have received vaccines in Flagler–31,275 women as opposed to 25,201 men (310 people were listed as “unknown”).

Statewide, more than 10 million people have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to a report released Sunday by the state Department of Health.

The report showed that 7,965,477 people who had received shots — or nearly 80 percent of the 10,005,987 total — were considered fully vaccinated, as they had received two doses of vaccines produced by the drug companies Pfizer or Moderna or the one-dose vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.

While vaccinations have helped restore more of a sense of normalcy, the Department of Health numbers and other data also reflect that many of Florida’s nearly 22 million residents, as in Flagler, have not received shots.

Data tracked by Johns Hopkins University indicated that Florida trailed 30 other states and the District of Columbia in the percentage of its population that is fully vaccinated, though underlying numbers posted online by Johns Hopkins differ from those in Sunday’s Department of Health report.

Florida began vaccinating people in mid-December, seven months after Covid-19 crashed into the state, causing illnesses and deaths and crippling the economy. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who banked heavily on vaccinations to help curb the virus, appeared at Tampa General Hospital on Dec. 14 as health-care workers were among the first to get inoculations.

“This is a game-changer,” DeSantis said at the time. “It’s a great day for the United States, it’s a great day for the state of Florida.”

DeSantis focused heavily on vaccinating seniors, who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. The Department of Health report Sunday reflected that emphasis. For example, 21.6 percent of the people who had received at least one dose were ages 65 to 74. Nearly 23.3 percent of the people who were fully vaccinated were in that age group.

The data also show that women have been more likely than men to get vaccinated: About 55 percent of the people who were fully vaccinated were women. Most people have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, with 743,001 receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Department of Health.

While DeSantis focused late last year and early this year on vaccinations as a key to combating Covid-19, he and other Republicans this spring have refused to allow what have become known as vaccine “passports” — a concept in which businesses, schools or other entities could require people to show proof of vaccination to gain entry.

Overall, Florida has reported 2,310,335 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic started, with 36,474 resident deaths, according to the Department of Health. Another 733 non-residents have died of the virus in the state.

In Flagler, 110 people have died of the disease (the health department last month had recorded 111, but lowered that number by one person since). No Flagler resident has died of the disease in about a month. Just 51 people were confirmed positive for Covid in the past seven days in Flagler, the lowest weekly tally since before last summer.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reports 578,555 coronavirus-related deaths so far. However, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington released estimates that Covid had killed 912,345 people in the U.S. as of May 6, or 60 percent higher than the CDC figure.

“The number of excess deaths in the U.S., while larger than the number of deaths attributed to Covid-19, may also be an undercount of the true number of Covid-19 deaths,” Ronald D. Fricker Jr., a professor of statistics and a senior associate dean at Virginia Tech, writes in The Conversation. “It is also consistent with a World Health Organization analysis that concludes the number of COVID-19 deaths in some countries could be two to three times greater than the number recorded. But no single study offers definitive proof, just one more piece of evidence on the path to better understanding the deadly impact of this pandemic.”

–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida



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