Levy County plans church vaccine event as demand plummets

Map focused on Williston, Florida
Map focused on Williston, Florida

Levy County Emergency Management has announced a church vaccine event on Friday as demand for the COVID-19 shot has plummeted in the area. 

“I think most of the [Levy County] people who wanted to get vaccinated have already done so,” said David Peaton, assistant director of Levy County Emergency Management. “Demand has dropped tremendously.”

New Zion AME Church in Williston (18295 NE 75th Street) is aiming to change that with Friday’s event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aside from bringing vaccines to a familiar place for parishioners, organizers are giving away tote bags to the first 75 attendees.

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In January, early in the vaccination drive, Levy County saw strong demand and had to regularly shut down appointments due to capacity and supply issues. Now, Peaton said the state has been operating numerous on demand, pop-up vaccination sites in the county, but with few takers. 

“We wish more people would take advantage of our pop-up vaccination sites, but we understand that’s a personal decision,” Peaton said. 

The county’s COVID-19 dashboard shows more than 13,000 vaccines administered, including more than 11,000 people who have completed the shot series. With a population of some 41,000, the Levy County vaccination rate stands at around 31 percent. 

The county has documented more than 3,500 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. That translates to about 9 percent who have some level of antibodies against the virus—putting the Levy County immunity rate at roughly 40 percent. 

Dr. Cindy A. Prins, a UF Health infectious disease epidemiologist, estimates at least 70 percent is needed to reach reach herd immunity

While vaccinations have tapered off in Levy County, Peaton said positive tests have as well. 

“We’re definitely happy with what we’re seeing in the case numbers,” Peaton said, noting weeks of steady decline. “We’ve been under 100 active cases for almost the entire month of May. That has not happened since November.”

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