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Health officials say Sarasota County’s vaccination rate is at 76 percent, it’s 62 percent in Manatee County

Vaccine update for Sarasota County and Manatee County.
Vaccine update for Sarasota County and Manatee County.(WWSB)
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 10:26 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Manatee County health officials say the number of people getting their first, second or third COVID vaccine shot was fewer than 900 people last week. It’s about the same for Sarasota County.

“We’re starting to see a decrease in the number of people being vaccinated, especially with their first or second dose,” said Michael Drennon, a disease intervention services program manager for the Sarasota County Health Department. “We’ll see what happens now that the FDA and CDC are having conversations about a third dose and that may cause our numbers to go back up again.”

Health officials say that 76 percent of eligible people in Sarasota County have received at least one COVID vaccine shot. In Manatee County, that number is a lot lower at 62 percent. The reason why is that there are a lot more people 65 or older in Sarasota County.

“There’s always room for improvement, we’re seeing people get vaccinated in decent numbers, but we really want to see more people getting vaccinated,” said Christopher Tittel, communications director for the Manatee County Health Department. “We want to get closer to that herd immunity that we’re looking for 75%, 80% of our population vaccinated.”

Health officials say the vaccine is our best protection against COVID.

“People that are hesitant or not sure about it or discuss that it’s not perfect, we didn’t expect it to be perfect,” said Drennon. “The goal is to keep you from getting so sick that you wind up in the hospital.”

Manatee County has moved full speed ahead with a media campaign trying to encourage people to get the vaccine. Health officials say a large majority of COVID deaths are from those people who have not been vaccinated.

“I think the figure on that is somewhere around the 99 percent range, people who are passing from the disease, sadly, were not vaccinated,” said Tittel. “So that would logically tell us with this disease, as with any other disease, is best handled with a vaccination.”

Health officials say between the pharmacies, pop up sites and health departments, getting the vaccine is easy and free. The COVID positivity rate in both Manatee and Sarasota counties continues to go down. It’s currently around 4 to 5 percent.

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