As the residents of the rural areas around Lake Okeechobee wait for a chance to make an appointment for COVID-19 vaccinations, the shortage of vaccine is evident. Although state officials said the vaccine supply would to be allocated based on population, a look at the numbers makes it clear the rural areas are not getting their fair share.
The 2019 census estimate (the most recent data available) for the population of Florida was 21,477,737. As of the Jan. 27, report issued by the Florida Department of Health report, 1,494,003 people had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s approximately 6.9% of the state’s population.
The rural counties around the lake have not received enough vaccine to keep up with the state average.
• Hendry County’s census population is 42,022. As of Jan. 27 report 1,834 people had been vaccinated – 4.3% of the county population.
Compare that to coastal counties:
• Palm Beach County’s census population is 1,496,770. As of Jan. 27, 137,523 people had been vaccinated. That’s equivalent to 9.1% of the county population.
• Collier County’s census population is 321,520 and as of Jan. 27, 29,862 people were vaccinated, or the equivalent of 9.2 of the county population.
• Martin County’s census population is 161,000. As of Jan. 19, 15,423 people had been vaccinated. That’s equivalent to 9.5% of the county population.