Marion County eclipses 40,000 vaccinated
Mark Lander [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
As the county continues to work through its list of 50,000 COVID-19 vaccine registrations, the number of local vaccinations eclipsed the 40,000 mark recently.
A total of 19,724 people have received both doses, while 22,377 are on their first shot. The county administered at least 1,900 vaccines every day between Feb. 8 and Feb. 12, with a single-day high of 2,867.
“We’re starting to see those second dose numbers climb, which is fantastic. That’s what we’ve been trying to do, get those second doses in the individuals’ arms,” said Mark Lander, Florida Department of Health in Marion County administrator, during Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
Florida has prioritized vaccinating those who are 65 and older for its initial vaccine rollout. Marion County has vaccinated 32,765 in that age range or about 30% of those 65 and older. That population has received 78% of all of the vaccines administered in Marion County as well.
Lander said that the county is currently in the 25,000 to 30,000 range on its list of registrations, though Lander mentioned that “a lot” of people they have called have already found vaccinations.
Those who are not on the list can register through the statewide ShareCare system at myvaccine.fl.gov to be notified when they can schedule a vaccination. Lander said that the county has received an additional 5,000 names from the first list of people who registered through Sharecare that it will go through after it has finished the first 50,000.
As the county’s vaccine supply increases, Lander said he hopes the Paddock Mall site will ramp up its immunizations to 6,000 per week. If the supply keeps up, they will administer 1,000 new doses three days a week and then 1,500 first doses and 1,500 second doses during the other two days a week.
“It’s going to be pretty intense out there,” Lander said. “But we’ve got plenty of volunteers. Our volunteer staff has been fantastic, the nursing staff we have out there, the mall has been great.”
Lander also mentioned that, while hospitals have started to vaccinate those under the age of 65 with underlying health conditions, April would be when the vaccine might be opened up to other populations. That is dependent on the authorization of vaccines like the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization on Feb. 4.
The county’s positivity rate also fell below 10% last week for the second week in a row, declining to 9.08%. Marion County reported 125.3 cases per day from Feb. 7 through Feb. 13, and the death count is at 677. Lander didn’t mention anything about the cases of the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, commonly referred to as the UK variant, that recently showed up in Marion County.