As of January 5, 2023, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly 20% of counties, districts or territories in the U.S. had a “COVID-19 community level” ranked “high”; nearly 42% had a “medium” level; and about 38% had a “low” level. Only in the states of Hawaii, Maine and Wyoming were all counties ranked at a “low” COVID-19 community level. The CDC determines the COVID-19 community level based on number of coronavirus cases, new COVID-19 admissions, and percentage of staffed inpatient beds in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19.
University of Florida Health serves people in all 67 Florida counties, and in most of those counties, the COVID-19 community level is ranked at high or medium (as of early 2023).
To keep the issue top of mind and encourage people to get vaccinated and boosted, UF Health educates the public about COVID-19 science and safety and offers vaccines at health system clinics, pharmacies and physicians’ practices. The UF Health website also links to a variety of other convenient locations — including supermarkets, pharmacies and discount stores — where community members can get the COVID-19 vaccine. People can search vaccine availability by county or region and type — walk-in or appointment — with a comprehensive and easy-to-use tool on the website. Experts at the hospital regularly share information and answer questions about COVID-19 vaccination, via online blogs and videos.
For example, in November 2021, when the CDC authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, Sonja A. Rasmussen, M.D., a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at UF College of Medicine and UF College of Public Health and Professions, shared advice for parents and caregivers. She explained the “important reason” for children to get the vaccine: to reduce the risk of severe illness or death and of experiencing long COVID, and also to reduce the risk “of passing the virus on to others who might be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, such as grandparents or people with underlying conditions.”
The UF Health COVID-19 vaccine hub features a section on how to talk with family and friends about the vaccine, advising people to “let science — and your heart — be your guide.” This section links to COVID-19 facts, stories from community champions, and resources for community partners that include a toolkit with downloadable fliers and social media graphics.
Visit the UF Health “Guide to COVID-19 Shots.”