ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Almost daily, Orange County posts a chart of an orange showing its goal of getting 70% of its eligible population vaccinated and it looked like the county met its goal on Friday, that was until there were discrepancies in the data.
On Friday, data released in the Florida Department of Health’s weekly COVID-19 report shows Orange County had officially vaccinated 873,125 people or 70% of its eligible population of 1,457,445.
However, when reached for comment about the milestone, Orange County Department of Health officials said only 67.62% of its residents had been vaccinated. A difference of 2.38% or 34,687 people.
“Two or 3% might not seem like a big deal, but that’s tens of thousands in Orange County,” said state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat representing Orlando. “We need transparency, we need access to real-time public health information.”
Smith, along with the Florida Center for Government Accountability filed a lawsuit against the State Department of Health and Surgeon General over the release of public health records. The lawsuit also asked the state to reinstate its daily COVID-19 dashboard which the state took down in early June.
Smith said it’s discrepancies like the one in Orange County that led to the lawsuit.
“It’s exactly why,” Smith added. “We continue to hear about discrepancies in the COVID-19 data in Florida, now we are seeing these discrepancies between the State Department of Health and their own county subsidiary, at a certain point you have to wonder why the state won’t settle these discrepancies by being transparent?”
According to Kent Donahue, the spokesperson for the Orange County Department of Health, staff are looking into the discrepancy.
“The state might be pulling from a different data set or may not be omitting certain factors according to our data staff,” Donahue wrote in an e-mail.
He would not elaborate on what data set Orange County’s Department of Health uses to come up with its vaccine rate.
A spokesperson for the Florid Department of Health said they are also looking into the discrepancies in the data.