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Florida continues to have high COVID-19 positivity rates

Doctor says vaccination is key
Posted at 10:42 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 23:36:11-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Neil Mitchell is enjoying a walk with his wife near Palm Beach. He's encouraged that Floridians 60 and older are now eligible for a coronavirus vaccination.

"I think there are a lot of questions people have about the efficacy of different vaccines and which are preferred, and which aren't preferred, and so on. I think it's all a step in the right direction," he said.

Mitchell said he does plan to get vaccinated.

"I'll probably get the Johnson & Johnson," he said. "I'm going to take my time about it. I want to see how this all unfurls. So is it weeks. Is it months? But I won't hold out forever."

According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Kleper De Almeida, Florida still has among the highest number of new cases in the U.S.

"Nevertheless, our numbers right now are about one quarter, 25%, of what we reached when we were at our peak," he said.

He said the vaccine rollout started rough, but as the supply of the vaccine increased, the rollout improved.

Coronavirus vaccination in Florida.PNG

Florida is in the midst of spring breakers flocking to the beaches for sun and fun. The high numbers didn't deter Jamaya Hayes or Trinity Carroll.

Spring Break 2021 in Palm Beach County

"We canceled some plans here and there because of COVID, so we're just kind of chilling on the beach trying to social distance," Hayes said.

Sitting next to Hayes was Carroll.

"We're not going to the bars and clubs," she said. "Like, we just want to get a little tan on the beach. We're not too worried."

De Almeida said vaccination is key.

"I think the best weapon that we will have against a new inflow of infections, whether it's by spring breakers or by other visitors by the state of Florida, is to vaccinate our population," he said.

De Almeida said he hopes Florida beats the national goal of vaccinating citizens of any age group before May 1.