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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Marion health officials urging residents to get vaccinated, keep sick kids at home

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County is urging residents to get vaccinated and to stay home if they are feeling sick.

“Vaccines are still the best tool for preventing serious illness from COVID-19” said Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. In addition, Lander says testing for the virus can help people avoid spreading it when they have it and are asymptomatic.

“I encourage residents to get vaccinated, and I urge everyone to stay home when they are sick,” said Lander. He says it is “critical” that parents do not send sick children to “school or day care.”

Health department testing and vaccination opportunities are being offered at varied times and locations to help fight the rise of COVID-19 cases in the community.

In recent weeks, health, government, and public safety officials have vehemently urged Marion County residents to seek out the vaccine, booster shots, and monoclonal antibody treatments.

Currently, the department provides walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at its main office, which is located at 1801 SE 32nd Avenue in Ocala.

Appointments are also available at the main office Monday through Friday. To make an appointment for vaccination or obtain more information, call 352-644-2590.

Other vaccination opportunities on Saturday, September 11 will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tuscawilla Park (800 NE Sanchez Avenue in Ocala), from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holy Faith Episcopal Church (19924 West Blue Cove Drive in Dunnellon) and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church (500 SW 17th Avenue in Ocala). 

The department is also partnering with Marion County Public Schools to provide booster shots to Marion County’s immunocompromised residents. Appointments will be scheduled for Saturdays on September 4, 11 and 18, at Liberty Middle School, 4773 SW 95th Street, Ocala. Appointments will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The department will give Pfizer and Moderna booster shots; there is currently no booster shot available for people who have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Immunocompromised individuals may discuss with their health care provider whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. Individuals can self-attest that they are immunocompromised and receive the additional dose wherever vaccines are offered.

You can sign up for an appointment online at the Marion County COVID-19 Vaccination site.

Free, county-sponsored drive-through COVID-19 testing is available at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion (2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala) on September 6, 8, 13, 15, 22, and 27.

Statlab Mobile, a COVID-19 mobile clinical testing service, is also offering free drive-through testing from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday through Thursday at the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park, 11008 South Hwy 475, Ocala. People who would like to be tested must enter through the County Road 475 public entrance.

For all drive-through testing sites, individuals should bring a valid photo ID. Minors under age 18 will only be tested if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. People should be prepared to stay in their vehicles while awaiting testing; restroom facilities will not be available. Only people who are being tested should be in the vehicle, with the exception of parents, guardians or caregivers. No pets are permitted in the vehicle during tests. School students should refrain from eating or drinking anything 15 to 30 minutes prior to their tests.

For more information, call the Department of Health in Marion County at 352-644-2590.