Demand for COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County exceeding available doses, health officials say

VIDEO: Demand for COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County exceeding available doses, health officials say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — 9 Investigates has uncovered a startling situation with vaccines in Orange County.

More than 59,000 people are scheduled for their shots through next week, but the county only received a fraction of the vials they requested. Now we’re asking what happens if they’re tapped out, and it’s your turn.

Orange County health officials told Eyewitness News that only 3-4% of residents are vaccinated here, a far cry from the levels some experts say are needed for herd immunity.

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In Orange County, more than 250,000 people are 65 or older and eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. But so far, only a small fraction of them have been vaccinated.

9 Investigates just learned the county has about 40,000 more people signed up for the vaccine than it has doses available.

If you’re booked for an appointment, and the county doesn’t have enough doses at the time, your appointment will likely be pushed back a few days.

Orange County is currently vaccinating about 2,000 people a day, and they haven’t fallen short on doses yet. But the demand still far exceeds what’s available.

Health officer Dr. Raul Pino said Orange County requested 40,000 doses this week -- half Moderna and half Pfizer.

But the county has only received about 10,000 so far, and Pino said he’s not sure if they’ll get any more until next week.

The county has about 20,000 doses on hand, making appointment-scheduling a guessing game.

“Because in this type of environment is very difficult to plan that when you don’t have a constant supply of vaccine,” Pino said.

Orange County can refrigerate about 260,000 doses at any given time.

“But also, you don’t want to have so many vaccines in storage either. Because if something goes wrong, then all vaccines get destroyed,” Pino said.

He said he does not think anyone will need to be rebooked this week, but next week is still up in the air.

WFTV is committed to bringing you the most accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic in Central Florida.
WFTV is committed to bringing you the most accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic in Central Florida. (Cindy Kelly)