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Marion County Fire Rescue paramedics will assist with COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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Health Department Administrator Mark Lander speaks to the Marion County Commission Tuesday as Medical Director Dr. Keith Singer looks on. Photo: Joe Byrnes

As Marion County prepares to roll out its COVID-19 vaccinations, paramedics will have an important role in reaching all corners of the county.

Commissioners cleared county firefighters for that job on Tuesday. Ocala Fire Rescue already had an agreement with the Health Department.

Department Administrator Mark Lander says the Moderna vaccine, if approved, could get to Ocala hospital workers next week and be administered at nursing homes.

In subsequent weeks, he says, vaccines could go to seniors with underlying conditions, first responders, essential workers and, eventually, the general public.

The biggest concern, he says, is messaging that they’re safe and effective.

“If you were to ask me six months ago when we got to this, What am I worried about?” Lander said. “I would say manpower, I’m worried about that manpower, but then, with the agreement like this we have in place and others we have in place, I think that manpower piece is going to be covered.”

The Health Department will also work with hospitals and medical providers registered with the Florida Shots immunization tracker.

It will visit big employers and large venues, where paramedics will give shots and monitor people afterward.


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


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.