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Veterans Are The Latest Group in Central Florida to Have Vaccination Eligibility Expanded

Photo: Manny Beccara
Photo: Manny Beccara

Starting today, veterans of all ages can get vaccinated at the Orlando VA’s Orlando and Lake Baldwin sites as long as they receive care or are eligible to receive care at the VA. 

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says veterans can also get vaccinated at Orange County sites if they are 65 and older or police officers, firefighters or teachers 50 and up. 

“So I think that there's ample opportunity for veterans who want to be vaccinated to be vaccinated here within the county. The VA Hospital site their inventory is totally different. It doesn't go through the state or any of that. So I'm well aware of many veterans who have availed themselves of the opportunity to get vaccinated at this point.”

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The Viera and Daytona Beach VA clinics are still only accepting veterans who are 65 and up or frontline workers and veterans with underlying medical conditions. 

Vaccines are being offered at the four VA sites in Central Florida through a combination of appointments and walk-ins. 

Veterans and residents will also be able to get vaccinated at a FEMA-led satellite site that will open in Apopka on Sunday at Kelly Park. 

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says he expects to see good attendance numbers at the site.

He says the area was selected to make it more convenient for people in the Apopka-Zellwood area to get shots and to help address vaccine inequality. 

“But also to target some of the underserved communities to kind of improve the numbers of in terms of disparities with Black and brown communities.”

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To help with these vaccine efforts, Epidemiologist Alvina Chu says the Orange County Department of Health is hiring COVID vaccination nurses and support staff. 

Chu said interested healthcare workers can apply on the DOH website. 

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.