TAMPA, Florida – As of Monday morning, all adults in the state of Florida are now eligible to register and receive their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Those who are at least 18 years old can choose from Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Those aged 16 and 17 are eligible for the vaccine as long as they receive the Pfizer brand /
Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine manufacturer that has been approved for ages 16 and over, and a parent or guardian must be present at the time of vaccination.
The FEMA vaccination site at the Tampa Greyhound Track will continue to provide the Pfizer vaccine to give people 16 years of age and older the opportunity to be vaccinated. However, as of Tuesday, all federally supported vaccination sites in Florida will switch to the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
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Long lines were forming Monday morning at the Tampa Greyhound Track.
Emma Adey was among the first teenage girls in Ed Radice Park in northwest Hillsborough County to be vaccinated.
“She was ready and willing,” her mother, Cheryl Adey, told FOX 13.
While there was a constant stream of people rolling and rolling their sleeves in the park, there weren’t many teenagers on day one of the new rules.
“I’m happy that I can protect myself and others,” Emma said. “A lot of my friends said they weren’t going to get it. I tried to convince them to help everyone in our community, but I really wanted to get it.”
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Adolescents getting vaccinated are a big step in the right direction, medical experts say.
“This is going to be the key to truly controlling the pandemic,” commented Dr. Steven Achinger of the Watson Clinic.
Adolescents generally do not have severe symptoms of COVID-19 and generally rebound more easily than adults.
However, Achinger says that adolescents are an important group to be vaccinated.
“They go out with their peers, socialize with their peers and interact with their parents at home,” he said. “They are therefore a potential source of the spread of the disease.”
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As of Monday morning, just over 3.5 million people had received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. A total of 10 million vaccines have been distributed.
“I think it’s a good sign that people are realizing that the vaccine is a very good thing for my own health, the health of my family and my community, and for getting back to some semblance of normalcy,” said the Dr Jason Salemi, USF College of Associate Professor of Epidemiology in Public Health.
According to the CDC, a total of 1.3 million vaccines will be distributed in Florida this week. This includes:
Johnson & Johnson: 313,000 doses
Moderna: 434,800 doses
Pfizer: 573,300 doses