Highest COVID Rate in This Florida County- Coincidence? Experts Say No

Malinda Fusco

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One Florida county has an insanely high COVID-19 infection rate...and a just as insanely low other crucial stat: population vaccination percentage. And experts speculate this is no coincidence.

This article takes a look at Baker County's COVID-19 infection rate, vaccination percentage, and what both experts and the residents themselves have to say about it.

Baker County's COVID-19 Infection Rate

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Baker County has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in Northeast Florida: 8.8% positivity rate for residents tested within the past week. This infection rate is also one of the highest in the entire state. 3,557 Baker County residents have been infected with COVID, according to the state data.

Despite this, a lot of residents don't want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Baker County's Vaccination Percentage

Baker County has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Northeast Florida. It's tied with Union County as the lowest. According to the Florida Department of Health, only 27% of people (age 12+) are fully vaccinated! That's way below the state's average.

It makes sense these two stats correlate.

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It makes a lot of sense that these two stats (a low vaccination rate and a high COVID infection rate) seem to correlate. If people aren't getting vaccinated, then they are more likely to catch COVID. Whereas in highly vaccinated areas, the likelihood that someone will catch COVID-19 is far lower as the vaccination will likely protect the fully vaccinated from contracting the virus.

According to Mayo Clinic, getting vaccinated is crucial for herd immunity and lowering the COVID infection rate. These things don't magically happen.

"Some people may object to getting a COVID-19 vaccine because of religious objections, fears about the possible risks or skepticism about the benefits. If the proportion of vaccinated people in a community is below the herd immunity threshold, a contagious disease could continue to spread."

Residents aren't worried.

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Even so, residents aren't worried about getting vaccinated or the super high infection rate. Most of the residents who spoke to the media indicated that they weren't interested in getting the vaccine. Some said it was because the vaccine is so new, others because everything is open again anyway.

One resident commented specifically on the low vaccination issue that it was a rights issue.

“They believe that their body is a temple and a vessel and they have a right not to take the shot just as well as a person that wants to take the shot has the right to take the shot."

Despite the low vaccination rate in Baker County, many residents indicated that they will not be getting the shot. Many people do not believe the two rates affect each other.

What do you think?

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