WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Biden said his goal is to have COVID-19 vaccines available for anyone who wants one by May.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that 2.6 million seniors have been vaccinated in Florida, and the age is being lowered to 60 years old starting next week.
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Figures show that is about 58 percent of the seniors living in the Sunshine State, according to 2019 Census statistics.
Despite these numbers, seniors 65 and older in Palm Beach County are still seeking vaccine appointments every day.
State data from March 6 shows nearly 240,000 seniors in Palm Beach County have received at least one dose.
"When you look at the numbers … we really, really have done very, very well," said District 5 Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Sachs.
Sachs said she applauds the "seniors first" approach. DeSantis has repeatedly praised Palm Beach County for being well above the state's overall percentage of seniors vaccinated.
"Palm Beach [has vaccinated] almost 67 percent of its senior population there," DeSantis said Monday.
Below are the figures for seniors who have received at least one dose of the vaccine:
- Indian River County: 74 percent
- Martin County: 65 percent of seniors
- St. Lucie County: 55 percent
- Okeechobee County: 54 percent
"These are the issues: we have homebound [seniors] that we're still working on," Sachs said.
It's unclear how much of the remaining 34 percent of seniors either do not want the vaccine, have not been able to get access to it or have been holding out.
"In fact, I kept putting it off. I wanted to wait for the one-shot [vaccine], but my kids wanted me to get it now," said senior Doris Lepore.
Three health care district-run vaccine sites in Palm Beach County are still working through a waitlist of seniors over 65 years old.
Health department reports show that seniors make up nearly 80 percent of the total number of people vaccinated in Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said she is pleased to see more people able to get the vaccine but hoped other groups would be prioritized as well.
"I am disappointed ... in one thing coming out of the governor’s office, and that was his final determination that he will no longer be providing any prioritization for any employment categories," McKinlay said. "We focus so much on our law enforcement and fire rescue and our teachers, and rightfully so, but we have a lot of frontline grocery store workers that have been working since day one, and one of my biggest concerns is our farmworkers."