Florida sees 20,045 new cases as CDC panel says COVID shots should be added to recommended vaccinations

States still have final say on vaccine requirements

FILE - Nurse Lydia Holly prepares a child's COVID-19 vaccine dose, on Nov. 3, 2021, at Children's National Hospital in Washington. U.S. regulators are urging drugmaker Pfizer to apply for emergency authorization for a two-dose regimen of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 and under while awaiting data on a three-dose course, aiming to clear the way for the shots as soon as late February. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) (Carolyn Kaster, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – With concerns rising about a possible winter surge of cases, a panel of experts has unanimously voted to add the COVID-19 shot to the list of recommended vaccines for children.

The panel voted Thursday on the recommendation, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will still have to decide whether to adopt the panel’s advice.

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This will put the shots on the annually updated, formal lists of what vaccinations doctors should routinely offer to their patients, alongside shots for polio, measles and hepatitis.

State and local officials will still have the final say about whether to make those vaccinations a requirement for school attendance.

The CDC doesn’t have the authority to set school immunization requirements, and the vote doesn’t mandate the vaccine for schoolchildren.

Officials don’t always adopt every recommendation. Flu and HPV shots, for example, aren’t required by many schools.

Florida’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo came out against such a requirement before the panel even voted, saying “nothing changes in FL” regardless of the vote.

Gov. Ron DeSantis echoed Ladapo on Thursday.

“As long as I am Governor, in Florida there will not be a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for children in our schools,” he said in a tweet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the CDC and the state from Oct. 7 - Oct. 20:

Cases

There were 20,045 new coronavirus cases in Florida over the last two weeks. This week, there were 10,111 cases reported. There were 9,934 cases the previous week.

Florida has seen 7,149,300 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

The Florida Department of Health reported a cumulative death toll in Florida of 82,176. There were 515 fatalities recorded over the past two weeks, which we get by subtracting the number of deaths reported by DOH two weeks ago (81,661) from the current cumulative death toll.

The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida when the new weekly reporting method began.

Hospitalizations

The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers show 1,131 adult and 33 pediatric patients in Florida.

Positivity rate

The Florida Department of Health reported the percentage of positive results from coronavirus tests was 7.1% for the week of Sept. 30 but did not provide how many people were tested during the past two weeks. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between Oct. 7 - Oct. 20.

CountyTotal cases as of Oct. 21New cases since Oct. 7Total people vaccinatedPercent of 6 mo+ population vaccinated
Brevard166,342252423,67968%
Flagler27,4297480,42667%
Lake103,308181258,60867%
Marion100,090 136232,11061%
Orange454,3095401,111,70476%
Osceola137,100133330,49079%
Polk246,157486471,81363%
Seminole125,994197334,14569%
Sumter27,99670106,26166%
Volusia142,881230360,09563%

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.