Q&A – How Many Floridians Want A COVID-19 Vaccine?

Today’s entry: I noticed on the new COVID vaccine tracker on the Sun Sentinel’s website, it’s reporting the number of people vaccinated against the state’s population. That makes no sense. We know not every Floridian wants a COVID vaccine. This information is misleading. My question for you is if there’s information regarding how many Floridians want the vaccine? Then we’d know how far along we are with vaccines.

Bottom Line: Alright, there are a couple of considerations in play with your question. First, if you’re not familiar, the Florida Department of Health has begun the daily reporting process regarding vaccinations in our state. This tracking information is similar to the daily reporting of COVID-19 cases. In the case of the Sun Sentinel, they’re taking the information and populating it in a map daily. On one hand it may make it easier to view the updated information. On the other, it has the potential to be misleading based on what you’re attempting to glean from the information.

The first potentially problematic aspect of the Sentinel’s tracker is that it’s using data from the 2019 Census estimates from 2018 data. It’s generally not a good idea to use dated demographic information for real-time daily updates.

We know the total number of people vaccinated is accurate as it’s what’s coming directly from the Florida Department of Health’s daily update. We know the percentage of the population vaccinated isn’t precise, despite reporting to the one-hundredth of a percent, which would naturally be interpreted as such. I don’t think they’re attempting to be misleading, it’s just a method of presentation that’s likely ill-advised. Now, that’s not to say there isn’t value in knowing the percentage of the population that’s immunized even if many won’t opt for the vaccine.

Knowing the percentage of Florida’s overall population which has been vaccinated could assist with understanding how close we could be to “herd immunity”. That is if experts like Dr. Fauci stop moving that number around. For the sake of conversation, 75% seems to be a common number most think would achieve herd immunity. However, we do have guidance to go on from the Florida Department of Health based on those who are eligible to be vaccinated under Florida’s Phase 1 program.

According to the Florida Department of Health, approximately 4.4 million Floridians are eligible under Phase 1 and approximately 3 million of those eligible want the vaccine. Now there are multiple variables in play. Will more people want to become vaccinated as time goes along should there be increased evidence of success? Will other demographics want to be vaccinated at the same rate as those eligible in Phase 1? We don’t know until we get there. But for the ease of conversation and to best answer your question, let’s say 68% want the vaccine. That’d be about 14.6 million Floridians who’d need to be vaccinated. That’d mean approximately 4% of those wanting to be immunized have been with at least one dose thus far.

Governor DeSantis said capacity is being ramped up with the expectation to deliver 60,000 new vaccinations daily. Should that occur we’d be on track to immunize 14.6 million Floridians in 233 days, or around August.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Photo by: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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