Vaccine booster shots are now available to help protect against the latest COVID-19 variants. The Centers for Disease Control advises the public to consult your doctor about which vaccine options are best for your family.
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) advises against the vaccine for those under the age of 65. In a Sept. 13 press release, FDOH advised: “Based on the high rate of global immunity and currently available data, the State Surgeon General recommends against the COVID-19 booster for individuals under 65. Individuals 65 and older should discuss this information with their health care provider, including potential concerns.”
Florida had 15,690 new covid cases reported for the week of Sept. 8-14, with 47 covid-related deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) released Sept. 15. Since the March 1, 2020, there have been 90,740 covid deaths in the state.
Since July, the number of covid hospitalizations and deaths in the United States have been increasing, according to CDC data.
FDOH releases covid update reports every two weeks. For the purposes of this report, those who test positive are only counted once, no matter how many times they have tested positive. New cases only include those who were tested by a health department, doctor’s office, hospital or lab required to report positive tests. This number does not include positive home tests if the person does not seek further medical attention.
In South Central Florida:
• Okeechobee County had 44 new cases for the week of Sept. 8-14, for a total of 12,953 new covid cases since the start of the pandemic. About 51% (21,819) of county residents have been vaccinated.
• Hendry County had 22 new covid cases for the week, and a total of 14,391 new covid cases since the start of the pandemic. About 61% (14,391) of county residents have been vaccinated.
• Collier County had 140 new covid cases for the week, and a total of 109,580 new covid cases since the start of the pandemic. About 75% (307,842) of county residents have been vaccinated.
• Highlands County had 80 new covid cases for the week with a total of 32,093 new cases since the start of the pandemic. About 62% (66,133) of county residents have been vaccinated.
• Glades County had 1 new covid case for the week and a total 2,381 new covid cases since the start of the pandemic. About 48% (6,787) of county residents have been vaccinated.
• Palm Beach County had 914 new cases for the week and a total of 497,383 new cases since the start of the pandemic. About 74% (1,123,811) of county residents have been vaccinated.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) website, globally, Sept. 13, 2023, there have been 770,563,467 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,957,216 deaths, reported to WHO. As of Sept. 7, 2023, a total of 13,501,166,968 vaccine doses have been administered.
In the United States, there have been 1,141,782 deaths and 6,308,630 hospitalizations connected to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. In the U.S. 153,471,660 vaccine doses have been distributed.
Consult your doctor for vaccine advice specific to your personal health conditions.
As the COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, protection from the initial rounds of vaccines may wane, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Likewise those who already had covid may not have immunity to the new strains.
Search for vaccination sites by zip code at Vaccines.gov or text your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
In the Lake O area, the covid vaccine boosters are available at:
• CVS, 106 N. Parrott Ave, Okeechobee,
• Walgreens, 100 N.W. Park Street, Okeechobee,
• Walmart, 2101 S. Parrott Avenue, Okeechobee,
• Publix, 3551 U.S. 441 S., Okeechobee,
• CVS, 520 Sugarland Highway, Clewiston,
• CVS, 101 Main Street, Belle Glade,
• Winn-Dixie, 960 South Main Street, LaBelle,
• Walmart, 1951 Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle.
Call the pharmacy or go online to the pharmacy website to make an appointment.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch.
To protect yourself and others, the CDC advises:
• Stay up to date with covid vaccines.
• Improve ventilaton in your home and spend time outdoors (viral particles spread between people more readily indoors).
• Maintain space and distance between yourself and others who are not members of your household. Small particles that people breathe out can contain virus particles. The closer you are to a greater number of people, the more likely you are to be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. To avoid this possible exposure, you may want to avoid crowded areas, or keep distance between yourself and others.
• Get tested for covid if you have symptoms or if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, you should test 5 full days after your exposure. If you do not test at the right time, you are more likely to get an inaccurate test result.
• If you test positive for covid, stay home and isolate yourself from others to keep from spreading the virus to others. Wear a mask if others must share your space. Masks can block droplets and particles you breathe, cough, or sneeze out so you do not spread them to others. Respirators (for example, N95) provide higher protection than masks. However, masks do not block 100% of droplets, so maintain distance from others as much as possible.
• If you test positive, consult your doctor or health department. New treatments can significantly reduce the covid symptoms but these treatments must be started as soon as possible after symptoms start in order to be effective.