Vaccination efforts move to smaller, pop-up events

Josue Centeno, 24, of Ocala, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park in this April 7 file photo. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
With the demand for COVID-19 vaccinations waning the Florida Department of Health in Marion County is shifting its strategy for distributing shots.

On May 28, the county’s centralized vaccination site at the Paddock Mall will close and the DOH will start offering vaccinations at several pop-up sites across the community, as well as at local businesses.

As of Thursday, the county had given more than 131,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. That amounts to roughly 44% of county’s population over the age of 18, according to population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Vaccines are available to those 18 and older and to those 16 and 17 with parental permission.

Officially, 36% of the estimated 365,000 people in the county have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“We have held specific outreach vaccination events in underserved parts of our county previously. We are now beginning to work with additional agencies and locations to help get more who live or work in our community vaccinated,” said Mark Lander, local DOH administrator.

Marion County reported 30,615 cumulative cases of COVID-19 through April 27, the most recent number available. The daily positivity rate in Marion was 5.92% on April 27, according to state records.

“Our cases are trending younger now as more of our older residents have received their COVID-19 vaccinations,” Lander said. “We are seeing an increase in new cases of COVID-19, however, from where we were in March. This means it continues to be important that more residents take precautions and get vaccinated to help reduce the number of new infections that we see locally.”

Businesses that want to hold a vaccination event for employees or social service agencies interested in holding a pop-up clinic can call 352-644-2627 to schedule.

Individuals also can continue to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by registering online at Marion.FloridaHealth.gov (or register directly at www.tinyurl.com/MarionCOVIDvax). Residents without online access can call 352-644-2590.

The county also continues to offer homebound vaccinations. A vaccination team will come to a person home to provide a vaccine. To register for a homebound visit, email homeboundvaccine@em.myflorida.com or call 866-779-6121.

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