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Two state vaccination sites planned for Marion County in the next week

Marion County Health Department Administrator Mark Lander, shown at a meeting in December, says the state will sponsor two vaccination sites in Marion County in the next several days. Image: Marion County video
Marion County Health Department Administrator Mark Lander, shown at a meeting in December, says the state will sponsor two vaccination sites in Marion County in the next several days. Image: Marion County video

The Marion County Health Department will soon check off the last name on its list of 50,000 seniors who signed up two month ago for a coronavirus vaccine.

The county is trailing in its vaccination efforts. But it will finally get a little extra help from the state.

Just 41% of Marion County residents 65 and up have received at least the first dose, compared to more than half of seniors statewide.

Now, for the first time, the state will boost the county’s ongoing efforts with two special vaccine events.

The first state-sponsored event starts Friday at the On Top of the World retirement community.

"We're going to do 3,500 vaccines, first vaccines over a three-day period out there," Health Department Administrator Mark Lander told the County Commission Tuesday.

Then, on Monday and Tuesday of next week, 3,000 shots will be administered at the Florida Horse Park south of Ocala.

That's in addition to the Health Department's Paddock Mall site, pharmacies and health care providers.

Lander expects a big leap forward.

"It's going to be a very busy first dose week for us, when we look at putting out, over the next 10 days, 12,500 first doses," he said. "We're really hoping to boost that population up to 50 percent in our 65 and up."

About 8,000 remain on the county list, but half of those getting call-backs have already received a vaccine somewhere else. Staff will be done with that list in a week or so.

Lander urges seniors to pre-register for future appointments at myvaccine.fl.gov.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.