Marion County starts administrating 50-plus vaccines

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Posted March 26, 2021 | By Brendan Farrell, Ocala Gazette

The drop in age came on Monday after the initial focus on 65 and up

On Monday, the age requirement for a COVID-19 vaccine dropped from 60 and older to 50 and older, allowing even more Marion County residents to return access to the shots.

Angie Clifton, the 53-year-old regional president of Mainstreet Community Bank in Ocala, is among the first in her age group in Marion County to receive the vaccine. Not only does her job require her to interact with customers every day, but she has people in her life who would are immunocompromised.

“My fiancé is compromised. He had open-heart surgery. I have elder parents who are infirm. I don’t want to bring it to them,” she said. “I feel it was a responsibility for me to get the vaccine. I did not want to become a super spreader.”

The state making vaccines more available comes at a time when states are racing to vaccinate their residents, especially as COVID-19 variants spread around the country.

Florida became the first state to report over 1,000 coronavirus variant cases when it reported 1,042 cases on Tuesday. Nineteen confirmed UK variant cases have been reported in Marion County as of Tuesday, according to Florida Department of Health in Marion County public information officer Christy Jergens.

The UK variant is the only one that has been found in Marion County as of Tuesday, according to Jergens.

However, the numbers are based on a few samples of confirmed cases. Florida reports 23 cases of the P.1 variant from Brazil and 10 cases of the B.135 variant from South Africa.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the county vaccinated 1,067 people on Tuesday. Marion County has had 49,802 either receive both shots of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine through Tuesday. Another 37,307 have received their first dose of a two-shot vaccine.

Cases have plateaued in Marion County, though the county’s 56 cases on Tuesday were the most since March 11. Single-day positivity rates have not eclipsed 6% in the last two weeks. The county has had 28,732 total cases, 1,913 hospitalizations and 911 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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