Local school vaccinations higher than expected

School participation in COVID-19 vaccine clinics has been better than expected, according to the Alachua County Department of Health (DOH).

“We delivered a significant supply of vaccine to our local pediatricians in addition to UF’s drive-through clinics,” DOH administrator Paul Myers told Mainstreet Daily News via email on Tuesday. He added that he was surprised at the number of vaccines that have been administered by the DOH at Alachua County schools, more than six weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11

“Several hundred students have been vaccinated in school and we are winding down COVID first doses this week with four school clinics per day,” Myers said. “Our community-wide COVID positivity rate as of last Friday was 2.3 percent.”

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According to the Florida DOH weekly situation report for Dec. 3-9, more than 1.6 million Florida residents ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, which is 11 percent of the age group. The highest age group vaccinated in the state is the 65 and older population at 90 percent.

New cases in Florida did rise last week from 10,880 during the week ending on Nov. 26 to 13,530 cases for the week ending Dec. 3.

In the DOH county overview report from Dec. 3 to Dec. 9, Alachua County was at a 67 percent vaccination rate, compared to the overall state average of 70 percent.

But cases per 100,000 are lower in Alachua County at 57.9 versus the state, which is at 61.6. The highest cases per 100,000 was reported by Broward County at 77.5 per 100,000.

Alachua County reported 158 cases last week according to the DOH report. The School Board of Alachua County’s COVID case reports states that there were 18 students and two staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Less than .1 percent of the student population has been in quarantine since Dec. 8, according to the school district dashboard.

The recent arrival of the omicron variant has driven fears of another COVID-19 surge, but so far the national rise in case numbers has not correlated to a surge in hospitalizations. 

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