South Florida's Vaccination Numbers May Not Be Correct


Photo: AFP

Florida claims that Miami-Dade County has reached a 90% COVID vaccination rate.

The latest report from Florida’s health department says Miami-Dade has the highest percentage of any county in the state, however experts say the 90% figure isn’t accurate.

“The true percent vaccinated is nowhere near 90%,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert at Florida International University. “It’s really giving people a false sense of security. It’s just not true. It’s based on a lot of people who gave Miami-Dade addresses who do not live here. ... We need to distinguish if we want to understand the safety of our community those people who we vaccinated that are truly residents here from those who are not.”

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has also checked the data. “At the end of the day, we are just guessing what the vaccination rate is,” he said.

One red flag was a breakdown by county zip codes showed some population samples surpassing 100% vaccination.

“When we surpassed 100% I realized there was a data problem,” Gelber said.

People age 18 and over in the 33122 area code had more than a 2,700% vaccination rate.

“That’s the airport,” Gelber said.

Miami International Airport has been a pop-up vaccination site open to anyone — not just county residents.

“I think what has happened is they have included all the vaccine tourists in the numerator but the residents are the only ones in the denominator,” Gelber said. “So the result is that you have these very, very, high vaccination rates because anyone who is seasonal or visiting are included. They created a false impression and that is a real problem in a pandemic where good information is important for people to have.”


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