covid-19 vaccine
#IGotMyShot. As a way to encourage vaccination in the community, Orange county launched the #IGotMyShot campaign. photo/Orange County Government

Despite new age groups gaining eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, the demand for the vaccine steadily decreases. The CDC reports that only 35 percent of Orange County residents are vaccinated. Researchers recommend that between 70 and 90 percent of a population receive vaccination in order to reach herd immunity. 

As of May 19, 121,218 Orange County residents received one dose and 473,901 are fully vaccinated. This data comes after vaccination opened up to those aged 12 and up on May 17. With new age groups getting vaccinated, demand may increase slightly. However, some vaccination sites closed due to minimal activity.

Despite containing the capacity for up to 3,000 vaccinations per day, Valencia College West Campus began to average only 400 vaccines per day. Due to the decrease in demand, the site closes on May 25.

On May 10, Publix began accepting walk-in appointments. This was done to increase access to the vaccine and provide people with a more convenient opportunity to get vaccinated.

Data shows that while it used to take 10 days to vaccinate one million Floridians, it now takes 17. The CDC reports that about 12 percent of Orange County residents are hesitant to get the vaccine. This hesitancy could help explain why the demand slows down as the people interested in the vaccine have already gotten it.

“One of the real reasons why people have hesitancy is concern about the safety of the vaccine,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

The FDA authorized multiple vaccines for emergency use. The CDC stated that the vaccines are effective, safe and will limit the possibility of severe illness from COVID-19.

“What we’re going to see, and we’ll probably see it soon, is that people will realize that we take safety very seriously,” Dr. Fauci said.

With the demand dropping, Central Florida residents may wonder if herd immunity is a possibility. As some vaccination sites abandon the need for appointments, and others close down all together, it’s unlikely. 

Eligible residents must get vaccinated in order for life to return to normal. If the state does not reach herd immunity, the virus will never disappear. Scientists continue to reassure residents that the vaccine is safe and that it works. It is time for residents to start listening to them. The demand for the vaccine should not drop until the majority of the state has been vaccinated.

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