Florida reports 5,564 new COVID-19 cases as EU drug agency finds J&J vaccine benefits outweigh risks

J&J to add warning label for European distribution

J&J vaccine to remain in limbo while officials seek evidence
J&J vaccine to remain in limbo while officials seek evidence

ORLANDO, Fla. – As the U.S. prepares for a decision later this week on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the European Union’s drug regulatory agency found a “possible link” between the vaccine and rare clots though the agency said the benefits outweigh the risks.

The agency recommended J&J add a warning label to the vaccine and also said the problems should be considered “very rare side effects of the vaccine,” according to the Associated Press.

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European officials said they considered all available evidence from the U.S., which ultimately consisted of eight cases, including one death. All occurred in people under 60, but the EMA said that it hadn’t been able to identify any specific risk factors.

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to meet Friday to discuss the pause in J&J vaccines. Investigations have been underway for six reports of unusual clots, including one death, that have occurred after receiving the J&J vaccine.

In the meantime, Florida FEMA-backed vaccination sites have moved forward with offering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine following the suspension of the J&J vaccine last week. State officials said the federally-supported site at Valencia College will be able to administer up to 3,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine per day.

Before Orange County relaxes its mask mandate, Mayor Jerry Demings said he wants to see 50% of people in the county vaccinated. He added the mandate could be relaxed by late summer though Orange County leaders said there’s a big drop in demand for the vaccine.

In the U.S., another vaccine milestone was hit this week as more than 50% of all adults have been partially vaccinated. President Joe Biden is now setting his sights on a new goal of administering 200 million coronavirus shots in his first 100 days in office.

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Weather stymies some Central Florida vaccination sites as state sees 5,666 new COVID-19 cases ]

Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on April 21.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,564 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,184,354 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

Florida reported 85 new virus-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 35,294. This number includes the 678 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were currently 3,493 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since last March, 88,752 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 231 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Wednesday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 6.26% Tuesday out of 88,833 tests. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from 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.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

FDOH reports 5,314,185 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.

As of Wednesday, 8,228,278 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations for Wednesday.

CountyCasesNew CasesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard39,745
1192,269
7847
1
Flagler7,080
15385
0106
0
Lake28,542
771,455
12622
-1
Marion30,173
582,075
5948
4
Orange132,716
3612,695
11,231
0
Osceola42,717
1331,408
3496
4
Polk65,521
2045,032
281,296
5
Seminole32,698
1011,226
5482
2
Sumter9,136
20571
1273
1
Volusia41,652
1522,114
97735

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