ORLANDO, Fla. — Just weeks after the Sunshine State expanded access to the COVID-19 vaccine to all Florida adults, many sites across the state are now seeing a drop in demand for the shots.
What You Need To Know
- The COVID-19 vaccination rate in Orange County drops sharply
- The Valencia College West site recently reported 500 shots a day, down from 3,000
- Some of the drop may be due to vaccine hesitancy, health officials say
- To make getting a shot easier, Publix pharmacies to start allowing walk-ins Monday
State data is showing that the number of Floridians getting their vaccine is slowing down and pushing the goal of herd immunity farther down the road.
Valencia College's West campus has been used as a FEMA-supported walk-up vaccine site for months now and is often popular for its convenient, no-appointment-needed operations. But that site, too, is experiencing a drop in demand for vaccines recently.
The Valencia College site can offer 3,000 shots a day, but last week, demand had dipped so sharply that the site was only providing about 1,700 shots a day. Now, they're averaging around 500 vaccines a day.
A similar slowdown is happening statewide. For the past few weeks, it’s taken around 10 days for Florida to vaccinate 1 million people, but more recently, data shows it's taken 17 days to reach the same number of people.
Vaccine hesitancy could be playing a factor in that. County data from the CDC shows that roughly one in five Central Floridians is hesitant to get the vaccine. While that's better than some parts of the South and Midwest, it lags behind other areas of the country, like California and New England.
Vaccine recipient Luisa Fajardo said she is grateful to have such easy access to the vaccine but wishes more people would take advantage of it. Her family in Guatemala would love to be able to get a vaccination so easily, she said.
“So it’s very sad to see an empty place, having the opportunity and knowing people in other countries want it and don’t have it,” Fajardo said.
Orange County still is working to get 50 percent of its population vaccinated. Health officials reporting about 46 percent of the eligible population has received a vaccine.
Because of the drop in demand for vaccines across the state, many sites are making it easier for people to access. Starting Monday, Publix said its pharmacies will accept walk-in customers as well as booking appointments for people still looking for the vaccine.
If you still need to get vaccinated, the FEMA-supported site at Valencia College's West campus is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. No appointment is needed.