The number of Floridians who received their first shot of the free coronavirus vaccine has risen by more than 1.1 million in the past week, state health officials reported Friday.
The total is by far the largest one-week increase in the number of vaccinations in Florida since the shots became available.
The Department of Health said in its weekly report that 2,890,568 Florida residents are now awaiting second doses of the dual vaccines Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19. The total on November 5 was 1,740,770.
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Friday’s report was the first to include immunization data for children ages 5 to 11. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer shot for children in that age range on Oct. 29.
But Friday’s report shows that only 44,694 5- to 11-year-olds have received their first injections.
Representatives from the Department of Health and the office of Chief Executive Ron DeSantis did not immediately respond Friday night to requests to explain the unprecedented weekly increase in first doses.
Previously, the largest weekly increase the state reported was over 400,000 during the week ending March 25.
A total of 14,043,681 Florida residents have been vaccinated against the deadly respiratory disease.
That includes 9,194,415 who completed the two-shot regimen or received a single Johnson & Johnson shot.
Booster shots have entered the arms of 1,958,698 Floridians so far.
In total, 67% of eligible Florida residents are vaccinated.
80% of eligible people in Palm Beach County have been vaccinated against COVID
In Palm Beach County, 988,083 people have been vaccinated, covering 80% of the eligible population.
As vaccinations have gone up, infections have gone down. The state recorded 10,302 COVID-19 infections in the past week. That’s the smallest week-long increase in new infections since June 18, just before the summer wave of cases that temporarily made Florida the national epicenter of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, some northern and western states are experiencing an increase in infections. States such as New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado recorded more cases per capita than Florida in the past week.
Florida had an average of about seven new infections per 100,000 inhabitants last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Rates for northern states are five to nine times higher.
Florida has documented 3,668,077 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Palm Beach County has registered 226,393, an increase of 668 people since Nov. 5, the smallest increase since June 11.
The death toll from COVID-19 in Florida has risen by 363 people in the past week. The disease has so far claimed the lives of 60,697 Floridians, including at least 4,296 in Palm Beach County. The US National Center for Health Statistics reports deaths in the province.
Only 2.5% of coronavirus tests over the past week, both statewide and countywide, came back positive. Those are the lowest numbers to date.
Chris Persaud is a data reporter for The Palm Beach Post.