Florida expands vaccine availability as state sees rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Publix adds more vaccine sites across Florida

When will COVID-19 vaccine availability be expanded to even more people in Florida?

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis traveled the state on Tuesday, announcing new coronavirus vaccination sites that stick with the state’s strategy of “putting seniors first.”

Debuting a new site in The Villages, DeSantis said the state is vaccinating 50,000 people a day during the workweek, hoping to continue these trends in Florida’s 65 and older population. He also shared remarks at two other Publix locations in Florida, announcing intentions to continue to expand its vaccination programs to make sure most of the state’s elderly residents get the shot.

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“If you look at Florida in terms of the numbers of shots that we have for seniors citizens we are leading the country by a country mile on this and the vast majority of our shots have gone to people 65 and up,” DeSantis said from The Villages.

The state is expanding its availability of the vaccine as more than 50,000 people have received their second shot, strengthening their protection against the virus. As of Florida’s latest vaccination report, more than half of shots administered within the state have been given to people 65 and older. The governor has maintained that Florida’s senior first strategy will also help curb the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths within the state.

This is a hope that has not yet been reflected in Florida’s most recent data. Although the state is now a month into its vaccination program, according to the Florida Department of Health, the state is seeing a steady increase in new patient hospitalizations with more than 400 reported Tuesday.

More than 100 new virus-related deaths have been reported statewide each day over the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Health and Human Services announced the intent to speed up vaccinations by immediately delivering the second dose of the vaccine to states. The agency is also calling on governors to begin vaccinating people younger than 65 with existing health conditions, a call that likely won’t be answered soon as states work to meet overwhelming vaccine demands.

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida struggles to meet vaccine demands as state reports 11,640 new COVID-19 cases]

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Jan. 12:


The Florida Department of Health reported 14,602 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,503,482 cases since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.


Florida reported 161 new virus-related deaths Tuesday, raising the death toll to 23,585. This number includes the 358 non-residents who died in Florida.


As of Tuesday afternoon, there were currently 7,713 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March, 66,204 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 408 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Tuesday. Approximately 90 of those new hospitalizations have been reported in Central Florida.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results ranged from 8.95% to 23.37% over the past two weeks and was 10.62% on Tuesday.

This number is calculated by comparing the number of people who tested positive for the virus for the first time from the tests administered the day prior.

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.


The Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. As of Tuesday, 648,353 people have been vaccinated in Florida. The FDOH also reports that 51,234 people have received their second shot. Yet, 10,665 people are overdue for their second vaccination.

[Register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida here]

See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew DeathsVaccinated

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