WEST PALM BEACH — Even though the omicron variant of the coronavirus is still raging in Palm Beach County, few people are getting vaccinated, the county’s top health official said Tuesday.
“We had the lowest number of vaccinations in the week of January 28 through February 3,” Palm Beach County Health Department Director Dr. county.
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Only 1,403 people countywide received their first shots between Jan. 28 and Friday, the state-run health department reported last week. “It’s the lowest we’ve had in a long time,” Alonso said.
Alonso estimated that about 25% of those people got vaccinated at two vaccine vans operated by the state-run county health department. One is at the Mid-County Senior Center on Lake Worth Road, between Congress Avenue and Military Trail. The other operates at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus.
Omicron surge still raging with 15% positivity rate
Meanwhile, the omicron-powered wave continues to crash across the county. As of last week, about 390 people per 100,000 population were infected with a positivity rate of 15%.
That’s about five times less than the first week of January, but still more than nine times more than the week before Thanksgiving.
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As of Friday, 1,070,322 county residents had received at least one vaccine, covering 76% of the eligible population aged 5 and older.
Vaccination rates remain below the county average in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods and in a Republican-leaning rural area. Racial minorities and Republicans in Florida are less likely than everyone else to have gotten the free, safe and widely available vaccines.
Only 43% of residents of ZIP Code 33493, covering South Bay in the Glades, had received at least one vaccine through Dec. 31, according to the latest state-run Health Department data at the ZIP code level. The majority black area has the lowest vaccination rate in the county.
Approximately 60% of residents of the postcode containing the majority Black Belle Glade, 33430, are at least partially vaccinated – the highest level in the clearings. City officials gave residents $100 gift cards to get vaccinated, using money from the U.S. bailout signed last year by President Joe Biden.
Inoculation rates range from around 62% to 67% across the majority of black ZIP codes in cities such as Riviera Beach and Lake Park.
In the ZIP codes covering Lake Worth Beach and Lake Worth Road, where most Palm Beach County Latinos live, the share of vaccinated residents ranges from 60% to 68%.
About 68% of eligible residents in the majority northern white county ZIP code of 33478, covering Jupiter Farms, are at least partially inoculated. More than three in five voters backed Donald Trump there in 2020. Republicans outnumber Democrats in these rural ridings.
Chris Persaud is the Palm Beach Post’s data reporter