Key Biscayne officials say there has been strong demand from parents for the first round of vaccines for children aged 5-11, with the first pop-up clinic immunizing 168 children and another clinic set for next month. The demand was apparent long before news broke this week of another fast-spreading variant, dubbed “Omicron,” that has led to new travel restrictions worldwide.
The Key Biscayne response is heartening, said Village Fire Chief Eric Lang, building on a trend that has seen islanders choose to be vaccinated at higher rates than national or state averages. “We were blown away,” said Lang. “And so is the health department.” As of Saturday, 61% of Floridians were fully vaccinated.
The next vaccination pop-up event is set for Dec. 9 at the Community Center. Registration is required for the 5-11 group.
The threat from the virus remains potent. Nationally, despite vaccines, more people have died in 2021 than in 2020 from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. The 2021 tally stands at 386,000, compared to 385,000 for all of last year — with most deaths coming now amongst unvaccinated people. In Miami-Dade, there have been 61,147 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The CDC said no cases of the Omicron variant have yet been detected in the United States, but Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC Saturday that he wouldn’t be surprised if it was already present. The CDC recommended that people continue to get vaccinated, with boosters, and follow the standard advice of handwashing, wearing a mask in indoor settings, and social distancing.
Here are the numbers as provided by the Florida Department of Health to the Village.
|Percent Vaccinated KB
Lang said that the Curative rapid-testing trailer on the Village green administered 200 PCR tests last week, up from 160 the week before The Village’s moving average positivity rate was 2.6%.
“If we see another wave, we will be on top of it,” Lang said. Village officials hope to keep offering pop-up vaccinations every three weeks.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.