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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Despite thousands seeking COVID-19 vaccine in recent weeks, nearly half of Marion County unvaccinated

Despite thousands of Marion County residents receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in recent weeks, nearly half the county remains unvaccinated. 

Deputy Secretary Mark Lander of the Florida Department of Health in Marion County provided the information during the Tuesday, August 3 meeting of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners.

Lander says that only 55% of eligible residents have been vaccinated. He explained that any resident above the age of 12 is considered “eligible” to receive the vaccine.  

He emphasized the need to get younger residents vaccinated and suggested that those who were unvaccinated were at far greater risk of contracting the virus.

“If you’re unvaccinated, you should not be in a large crowd right now,” said Lander. 

Lander says there has been a drastic increase in the amount of individuals requesting the vaccine throughout the county in recent weeks. 

Three weeks ago, 1,384 individuals were vaccinated.

Two weeks ago, that number grew to 2,025 individuals. 

Last week, that number exploded to over 3,720 individuals. 

During his presentation, Lander made specific note of the distinction between younger and older demographics in the county, saying that 80% of seniors over the age of 65 in Marion County have been vaccinated.

That rate is in line with the state of Florida’s 84% mark. 

Lander says that the majority of new cases in the county are being reported by people between the ages of 25 and 54 and emphasized the need to improve “vaccination rates across younger” residents. He says that the group with the most hospitalizations in the county is those aged 45 to 64. 

“Anybody who wants a vaccine can get one, we have that availability,” said Lander during the meeting. 

The health department recently announced that COVID-19 testing will return to the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion this week. 

In addition, the department is operating two additional sites at three separate facilities across the county. 

To find out more information about vaccinations, visit the Florida Department of Health in Marion County website.