Florida Dep’t of Health reports impossible vaccination rates, withholds ‘confidential’ COVID-19 data, Dems say

Face Medical Surgical White Mask with COVID-19 inscription lying on Florida State Flag. Coronavirus in Florida
The department listed one Broward ZIP code as having a vaccination rate of 170%.

The Florida Department of Health is reporting impossible vaccination percentages to at least one county while blocking state lawmakers from seeing certain COVID-19 information, according to Democratic state lawmakers.

During a virtual conference Thursday with six other House members, Rep. Christine Hunschofsky of Coconut Creek said reports the state department provided to her office showed some Broward ZIP codes with vaccination rates over 100%, which, of course, is impossible.

“For example, we have a (ZIP) code, 33019, that says there’s a 137% vaccination rate. We have (another, 33326), that has a 118% vaccination rate,” she said. “When I was asked by my constituents how is that possible, I wasn’t getting very clear answers from the Department of Health.”

A map of vaccination rates as of Aug. 3 from the department, which Hunschofsky’s office provided to Florida Politics, confirms her assertion. It also shows other ZIP codes with similarly outlandish rates, including 33315 (170%), 33308 (103%) and 33323 (107%).

Florida Politics requested and is awaiting clarification from the Health Department.

Aside from being unbelievable and therefore untrustworthy, Hunschofsky said, those percentages may foster a false sense of security and lead local officials and the residents they serve to make ill-advised decisions.

“It … makes it more difficult for those of us on the ground, those of us who have neighbors and family members, to see where we need to target to encourage people to get the vaccine,” she said. “In fact, I recently heard a local official speak about the high vaccination rate in the area as a reason that maybe it’s not important to mandate masks.”

A map of vaccination rates, some over 100%, that Rep. Christine Hunschofsky said the Florida Department of Health sent her office.

Making matters more difficult, said Rep. Carlos Smith of Orlando, is that the Department of Health is withholding materials from the public by citing exemptions from the state’s Sunshine Law.

Smith said the department denied his office’s public records request for daily Orange County pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases, telling him the data he requested was “confidential and exempt from public disclosure.”

He posted a screenshot of the denial email on Twitter earlier this week.

“The records that we’re asking for … are not confidential as the state claims,” he said. “We’re not asking for patient names in hospitals or security information. We’re asking for raw numbers, the same raw numbers that we used to have throughout the pandemic.”

Smith also joined calls for state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to set the record straight, particularly about youth COVID-19 infections.

“His experience brought him to this position, including the fact that he was the professor of pediatrics … at Yale, and also at the same time he used to chair the pediatrics department at USF College of Medicine,” he said. “I would like to hear from our state’s Surgeon General about the impact of COVID specifically on children and what needs to be done to certainly mitigate that impact.”

Hunschofsky and Smith met by Zoom with fellow Democratic Reps. Ramon Alexander of Tallahassee, Robin Bartleman of Weston, Dianne Hart of Tampa, Patricia Williams of Pompano Beach and Marie Woodson of Hollywood to call on Gov. Ron DeSantis to direct staff at the Florida Department of Health to bring back daily COVID-19 reporting.

Florida, which yesterday hit a single-day high for COVID-19 cases, with one of every 1,400 people in the state hospitalized with the virus, discontinued daily reports in June.

With cases skyrocketing as the highly transmissible delta variant spreads throughout Florida, matters are intensifying, up-to-date information is vital and still adhering to policies from months ago, when infections were on the downslide, is counterintuitive, Hunschofsky said.

“We’re used to hurricanes in the state of Florida. So, as we have a hurricane … five days out, six days out, where the threat isn’t as imminent, shall we say, we get updates … every 12 hours,” she said. “But as the hurricane gets closer — for example, in the case of COVID, as the rates went down, we got less frequent information because it wasn’t as imminent a threat — but as a hurricane gets closer, we get updates every six hours. We get updates every three hours. Why don’t we get that information so we can prepare and do the best we can to keep our communities safe now that we have the COVID numbers rising?”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


10 comments

  • Tom

    August 12, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    I guess they just doubled it like CDC did and Nikki Fraud with infections.

    • Reality

      August 12, 2021 at 3:39 pm

      You’re clueless. Get help.

      • Tom

        August 13, 2021 at 6:43 am

        LMAO. Disreality
        Oh, another cocoon Manchurian partisan.
        CDC, WH and liar Fraud blew up Covid infections by 30%. It’s a fact. Look it up. You win idiot award. Congrats!

        • tjb

          August 13, 2021 at 8:08 am

          Florida Dep’t of Health falls under DeSantis’s supervision. Should we hold DeSantis accountable for their errors?

          • Tom

            August 13, 2021 at 8:54 am

            LMAO. Just need Nikki Fraudster to announce them.

          • Nancy

            August 13, 2021 at 2:30 pm

            This is ridiculous. With Covid being so high we should get daily rates. We never got below 40 deaths a day. Now what are we?????? I feel like I’m living in a communist country with no news

          • Anna

            August 14, 2021 at 7:42 pm

            My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..i she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

            check this…… http://PayBuzz1.com

  • martin

    August 12, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Must be the same democrats who count ballots.

    • Mary

      August 13, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      This is overseen by DeSantis who doesn’t want to look bad

  • Kirk Weeks

    August 14, 2021 at 6:30 am

    Desantis sounds familiar; TRAITOR to the truth. Can you say rumpt? Or lindsey, or mitch, or macmaster, or any republicon currently obstructing progress in congress ? Once a plantation,always a plantation.
    PEACE OUT!

Comments are closed.


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