Covid vaccinations available to more people

COVID-19 vaccination numbers got a little more complicated as the minimum age for vaccination dropped to 5. Vaccination percentages dropped across the board because the pool of those eligible for vaccination increased. Statewide, 67% of those age 5 and older are vaccinated according to the Florida Department of Health report released Nov. 12. Before adding those age 5-11 to the eligible group, the state’s vaccination rate for those 12 and older was 72%.
Vaccination rates by age groups, as of Nov. 12 were:
• 5-11: 3%;
• 12-19: 56%;
• 20-29: 56%;
• 30-39: 66%;
• 40-49: 74%:
• 50-59: 78%;
• 60-64: 85%;
• 65+: 88%.
Around Lake Okeechobee, vaccination rates as of Nov. 12 were:
• Glades County: 49%;
• Hendry County: 52%;
• Martin County: 65%;
• Okeechobee County: 46%;
• Palm Beach County: 70%;
Florida had a 2.5% new positivity rate for the COVID-19 virus for Nov. 5-11, according to the Florida Department of Health report released Nov. 12. Around Lake O:
• Glades County: one new case, 2.2% new positivity rate:
• Hendry County: 14 new cases, 3.2% new positivity rate:
• Martin County: 27 new cases, 2.6% new positivity rate;
• Okeechobee County: 11 new cases, 2.6% new positivity rate;
• Palm Beach County; 713 new cases, 2.5% new positivity rate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control website, new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the seven day period ending Nov. 12 included:
• Glades County: 0;
• Hendry County: 0;
• Martin County: 8:
• Okeechobee County: 2;
• Palm Beach County: 65.
According to FDOH and the CDC, vaccination provides the most effective protection against serious illness and death from the covid virus.
COVID-19 vaccines are free and available at most pharmacies as well as through county health departments. To find a vaccine site near you, go online to: or, go online the national website:
A pharmacy may request Medicare or insurance information, but cannot charge a co-pay for vaccinations.
COVID-19 deaths
As of Nov. 12, FDOH reported 60,697 Floridians had died from the COVID-19 virus, including deaths in the following age groups:
• Under age 16: 29;
• 16-29:  422;
• 30-39: 1,111;
• 40-49:  2,696;
• 50-59: 6,107
• 60-64: 4,974;
• 65+: 45,358.
For those who are already fully vaccinated, booster shots are available for:
• Those over the age of 65;
• Those with health conditions that make them at higher risk;
• Those whose jobs make them at higher risk for exposure to the covid virus (such as medical professionals and first responders).
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in high-risk patients who have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. The antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond effectively to the virus. According to the treatment guidelines, they should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis.
Treatment is free and vaccination status does not matter. If you are 12 years and older and are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, you are eligible for this treatment.
There is currently a standing order in Florida signed by the State Surgeon General that allows patients to receive this treatment without a prescription or referral if administered by an eligible health care provider.
In clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and death.
For more information, call the Florida Department of Health Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Support Line: 850-344-9637.
Additional precautions
FDOH and CDC advise everyone to continue to take precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including:
• Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible;
•  Maintain six feet of social distance from those who are not members of your household;
• Wear face coverings when it is not possible to maintain six feet of distance from others in public;
• Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
While more than 90% of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were unvaccinated persons, those who are vaccinated may still contract the virus. While the vaccine helps the body fight off the virus, and a person with a breakthrough case may not have symptoms, there is still a possibility they could spread the virus to others, especially those who have not been vaccinated, the CDC warns.