Orange County sees decreased vaccine demand; appointments available

On the day every American in the U.S. became eligible to get vaccinated, Orange County officials released a shocking statistic.

"On Friday, 17,000 appointments for this week opened at the Orange County Convention Center and we have roughly 11,000 left," said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings at Monday's county coronavirus briefing.

The Convention Center is the same site that used to have so much traffic on its online portal, people weren’t able to make an appointment at all.

On Monday, Mayor Demings tried to advertise vaccinations in his coronavirus briefing.

"There really is no reason not to get a free shot. The convention center is fast and convenient and you do not have to get out of your vehicle," he said.

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So far, roughly 30% of all Orange County residents have been vaccinated. Health officials believe the county needs to reach 79% for herd immunity.

A few things could explain the decreased demand. First, there are now 120 vaccination sites in the county.

Plus, "to note is that there’s also an increase in supply and so relatively speaking, we think there’s a lot of open appointments because we also have a lot of vaccine available," said Alvina Chu, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

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The mayor also admits the low demand may be a result of last week’s pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, spooking more people into vaccine hesitancy.

That’s why he’s pushing more mobile vaccinations and his new vaccine hesitancy campaign.

"We’re going to do everything we can to encourage people to get vaccinated," Mayor Demings said.

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