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Mass vaccination site opens at Paddock Mall in Ocala


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Louise Mediate of The Villages celebrated her 80th birthday Tuesday by going with her siblings as they got vaccinations at Paddock Mall in Ocala. Photo: Joe Byrnes

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The Marion County Health Department has teamed up with AdventHealth and others to provide COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment at Ocala’s Paddock Mall.

So far in Marion County, nearly 18,000 have received at least one dose.

The move indoors from tents at the Health Department means seniors can avoid the weather as they do paperwork, get their shot and sit for observation.

Dr. Michael Torres, chief medical officer at AdventHealth Ocala, says they hope soon to start vaccinating more than a thousand a day, including second shots.

“Now there are other agencies that are also spinning up to give immunizations,” he said. “We’re very happy that that’s happening because it might mean we can be done in nine months, instead of 12 or 15 or 18 months. But we see this as a marathon.

Villages resident Louise Mediate was there wearing a boa and teal tiara on her 80th birthday. She got a shot at Publix last week. Now her brother, sisters and in-laws are getting theirs.

“It’s the best birthday gift I’ll have to see all my siblings get a shot,” she said.

Finally, she says, they can begin to feel safe.

 


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

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.

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