Florida vaccination numbers climb as Omicron arrives

Coronavirus Pandemic

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Florida Department of Health officials said almost 500,000 people received doses last week, up about 75,000 from the week before.

Many believe the increase is due to the Omicron variant, which made its way into Florida yesterday.

Pharmacists at Rx Express Pharmacy in Panama City said a lot of people have been coming in for their boosters and first shots since Thanksgiving.

“The variant coming out does make people more aware of if they’ve had their boosters,” pharmacist Lauren Parker said. “It kind of gives them a bit of a push to come in and get their boosters which maybe they would put off for a little bit which is good. They want to make sure they are protected at this time with the variant coming out and starting to spread a little more in our area.”

Evelyn Simpson and her mother Adeline received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

Since she frequently visits her mother’s house, Simpson decided it was time to protect her.

“I evaluated it very thoroughly and I thought that it’s better off to go with the shot even if something goes wrong than to go without the shot and have something go wrong and kick myself in the rear later on,” Simpson said.

Pfizer announced Wednesday that their booster shot shows promising results in protecting against the Omicron variant.

Rx Express has Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and boosters available.

The pharmacy accepts only walk-in vaccine appointments Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pharmacists are also stressing the importance of flu vaccines, heading into the heart of flu season.

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