Clay County Health: COVID-19 vaccine supplies now exceed demand

Officials tells residents to get their inoculations as soon as possible

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 3/24/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – After working with a COVID-19 vaccine supply chain that couldn’t keep up with the demand, the county now has a surplus of the vaccination.

Clay County’s Florida …

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Clay County Health: COVID-19 vaccine supplies now exceed demand

Officials tells residents to get their inoculations as soon as possible

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – After working with a COVID-19 vaccine supply chain that couldn’t keep up with the demand, the county now has a surplus of the vaccination.

Clay County’s Florida Department of Health administrator, Heather Huffman, told the Board of County Commissioners during their regular March 23 meeting the supply for COVID-19 is greater than the demand. She and her team are already working with the state to figure out ways to let people know the vaccine is very available.

“[We’re at] a little over 63,000 doses,” Huffman said Tuesday evening. “Almost 30,000 have come out [the Department of Health] pod. They are currently dividing that data amongst the different age groups now.”

The data was previously announced in the past weeks of the meeting was for the 65 years of age and older and first responder and health care group. The state has since opened up its guidelines on who can get a vaccine to include people 50 and older.

Huffman said 62% of the 65 and older population have been vaccinated, and the percentage grows smaller with each subsequent group, down to the 15 to 54 age group, which is at 15%.

Commissioner Jim Renninger said the 62% isn’t enough, let alone 15%, and asked Huffman what the county can do to raise that percentage. Huffman explained they’re currently looking to close the gap with long-term residents and homebound residents. She said many might have passed the opportunity up weeks ago when it was offered to them, but that now, they’re reaching back out to see if those same people would now like to get the vaccine.

“We’re swimming in vaccines,” Huffman said. “If you’re 50 or older, we can see you so come on over. The state is looking at how we can reach targeted efforts, too. In the beginning, there was a lot of demand and not enough supply. Now, it’s just about finding the people.”

Huffman also said she expects the vaccination numbers to jump up when the Johnson and Johnson vaccine becomes more readily available since a lot of people might be waiting for the single-shot option.

“The goal is not to get to zero because that’s an unattainable goal,” Huffman said. “COVID-19 is here to say.”

In other business, JaxUSA president Aundra Wallace told the BCC of the many opportunities Clay County has on its plate for business development.

“We’ve referred six projects to the Clay Economic Development Council,” Wallace said.

Some of the projects include aerospace component manufacturing projects, plastic bag manufacturing sites, a customer service center, and even one that he calls an “advanced manufacturing project” that could bring as many as 5,000 jobs to Clay County. He said his team and the EDC are pushing hard to make Clay County an attractive site for the projects.

“People are looking at our region,” Wallace said. “From a labor force standpoint, they can get what they’re looking for here. They can operate here for cheaper prices. In terms of transportation, there’s [millions and millions] to reach from here and from a distribution aspect, we have the ports.

“People are recognizing us consistently and our phones are constantly ringing off the hook.”

EDC president JJ Harris agreed and said Clay County’s economics continue to improve.

“Our unemployment rate is now 4% from the end of February,” Harris said. “Good things are happening. If you’re listing your house, it’s selling anywhere from 33 to 54 days and usually about 23% above the listing price. Things are going good, our economy is strong, and your willingness to meet with partners once we get them here bodes well for the support of economic development in Clay County.”

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