Florida vaccine supply insufficient to support population

It will take another 15 weeks to get shots in the arms of the rest of Florida’s 65 and older population if supply does not increase, according to a Florida Gulf Coast University Mathematics Professor.

Senthil Balaji Girimurugan, Ph.D., a statistical researcher and math professor, compared the state’s weekly allotment numbers against population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It’s going to take quite some time, at least another 10 months, to get everybody vaccinated so we’re a long way away,” said Girimurugan, who agreed to create a statistical analysis for WINK News.

Governor Ron Desantis said on Wednesday the state is now being allotted about 300,000 single-doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which includes both Pfizer and Moderna.

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At a press conference in Pahokee, he touted the state’s efforts to vaccinate more than a million people but said the supply needs to increase to meet demand.

The federal government allots vaccines to states each week on a “pro-rata basis” by the population of residents 18 and older.   

The population estimate comes from a microdata sample from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  

According to the Census Bureau, that survey does estimate the seasonal resident population in a state like Florida. However, it would not account for any new residents who’ve moved to the state since the pandemic began.

Economists estimate Florida will see a spike in population by 1 million people by 2022. 

A federal pharmacy program will begin distributing vaccines directly to Sam’s Club and Walmart stores in Florida next week. The locations and numbers of doses have not been released.

DeSantis said that the program, along with the prospect of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the horizon, should help Florida’s supply and demand issue.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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