The number of Floridians who have gotten their first shot of the free coronavirus vaccine spiked by more than 1.1 million in the past week, state health officials reported Friday.
The total is, by far, the biggest one-week increase recorded in the number of Florida vaccinations since the shots became available.
A healthcare works holds up a sign to directing people to a COVID-19 vaccination site at a Health Care District of Palm Beach County bus parked on Datura Street in West Palm Beach, Florida on May 14, 2021. GREG LOVETT/PALM BEACH POST
The state Department of Health said in its weekly report that 2,890,568 Florida residents are now awaiting second doses of the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. The tally on Nov. 5 was 1,740,770.
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Friday’s report was the first to include immunization data for kids ages 5 to 11. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 29 approved the Pfizer jab for children in that age bracket.
But the Friday report shows just 44,694 5- to 11-year-olds having gotten their first shots.
Representatives for the state health department and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond Friday evening to requests to explain the unprecedented weekly increase in first doses.
Previously, the biggest weekly increase the state reported was more than 400,000 during the week ended March 25.
A total of 14,043,681 Florida residents are inoculated against the deadly respiratory disease.
That includes 9,194,415 who have completed the two-shot regimen or received a single Johnson & Johnson shot.
Booster shots have so far entered the arms of 1,958,698 Floridians.
In total, 67% of eligible Florida residents are vaccinated.
80% of eligible people in Palm Beach County are vaccinated against COVID
In Palm Beach County, 988,083 have been inoculated, covering 80% of the eligible population.
As vaccinations have climbed, infections fallen. The state logged 10,302 COVID-19 infections in the past week. That is the smallest one-week increase in new infections since June 18, just before the summer surge of cases that temporarily made Florida the national epicenter of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, some northern and western states are experiencing upticks in infections. States such as New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado have recorded more cases per capita in the past week than Florida.
Florida averaged about seven new infections per 100,000 residents in the past week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Rates for northern states are five to nine times higher.
Florida has documented 3,668,077 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. Palm Beach County has logged 226,393, a 668-person increase since Nov. 5, the smallest increase since June 11.
Florida’s COVID-19 death toll increased by 363 people in the past week. The illness has claimed the lives of 60,697 Floridians so far, including at least 4,296 in Palm Beach County. The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics reports county deaths.
Just 2.5% of coronavirus tests in the past week, both statewide and countywide, came back positive. Those are the lowest figures reported so far.
Chris Persaud is a data reporter for The Palm Beach Post.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Florida reports unprecedented 1.1 million new COVID-19 vaccinations