Health department: 62% of county’s seniors have been vaccinated for COVID-19

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 2/24/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Sixty two percent of the county’s 65 years of age and older have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Clay County Florida Department of Health administrator Heather Huffman gave …

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Health department: 62% of county’s seniors have been vaccinated for COVID-19

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Sixty two percent of the county’s 65 years of age and older have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Clay County Florida Department of Health administrator Heather Huffman gave the Board of County Commissioners its usual update at the Feb. 23 meeting amongst an otherwise short and sweet agenda. Huffman had only good news to speak of, though, and she walked the board through some impressive numbers for the county.

“The case numbers are in the low numbers and that’s good news,” Huffman said. “I think what’s most important to talk about is the vaccination numbers. Sixty two percent of the 65 years of age and older population is vaccinated. We’re above the 50% threshold and that makes me happy.”

She also told the BCC that Clay County had officially doled out 40,000 doses of vaccines and that happened in less than two months. She said the past two months have been a great showcase of the county and its partners’ excellent work in getting the vaccines to those that want it.

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced the state would be opening up four federal vaccination sites. One of those four sites will be in Duval at the Gateway Mall. DeSantis also announced that by way of executive order, these federal cites might change the priority vaccination groupings to include those 50 years of age and older that are teachers or law enforcement officers.

Huffman stressed if that’s the case, that new priority grouping will apply exclusively to the federal sites meaning the sites in Clay County like the one at the agricultural fairgrounds and those at Publix will not be able to open up vaccines outside of the usual 65 years of age and older.

The Federal Drug Administration is going to review the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on Feb. 26 and it’s expected to roll out shortly after. It’s a single-shot vaccine and Huffman believes that shot will be better for homebound individuals and those that struggle with needles.

Another topic that occurred during her portion of the meeting was the question of homebound individuals in general. Huffman said she hopes the governor’s office explicitly outlines what counts as homebound, as people can take advantage of that definition otherwise. She said homebound is currently looking at World War II and Korean War veterans and relying on Veterans Affairs to get those people and their vaccinations planned.

“As you know, we can go from doing almost 1,000 shots a day to doing 100 shots a day because of how labor intensive a homebound shot can be between transportation and other factors,” she said. “They are generally at higher risk so the waiting period [post-vaccination] would be 30 minutes, as opposed to 15 minutes.”

Huffman also assured no vaccines have been thrown away in the county, including ones that aren’t used in a given day.

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