ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida’s seniors were the first group to be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, and are now one of the groups eligible for booster shots.
Now, Florida doctors are urging seniors to get the booster as they’re observing coronavirus cases in seniors starting to rise again.
Overall, coronavirus cases have declined across the state recently, but scientists say seniors appear to be experiencing breakthrough infections, or are getting re-infected.
Statistician Dr. Eric Solomon is one of those scientists who recently received a COVID-19 booster shot himself.
“It was an easy shot...piece of cake..” Dr. Solomon said.
Data shows that for the first time in months, the senior 65 and older age range reported the most coronavirus cases in Florida last week.
“This is surprising,” Dr. Solomon said.
Surprising, Dr. Solomon says, because the 65 and older age group has the highest vaccination rate in the state. Dr. Solomon says immunity from either infection or vaccination must be waning.
“This is a particular age group that appears to be vulnerable to these kinds of activities...breakthrough cases as well as possible reinfections,” Dr. Solomon said.
That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says anyone over the age of 65 who got their vaccine six months ago should get a booster shot.
I got mine yesterday,” Dr. Solomon said. “It really works. It boosts your immune system to levels of 90 percent or above.”
The Florida Department of Health does not track breakthrough cases. However, some other states do.
In Georgia, for example, they found that the overwhelming majority of breakthrough cases were in seniors, and in Massachusetts, they found them happening more frequently.
“Approximately 36 percent of all their new cases were breakthroughs,” Dr. Solomon said.
Solomon says Florida’s data would look similar if we were to start tracking breakthrough cases as well.
“The only difference might be that Florida has a larger-than-most elderly population,” Dr. Solomon said. “And these individuals are more likely to become breakthrough cases.”
Dr. Solomon says he thinks a majority of Florida’s seniors will get a booster shot as he himself did.
“We booked it right away,” Dr. Solomon said. “We wanted to get in as quickly as we could.”
Cox Media Group