Florida Department of Health in Marion County announces new changes with COVID-19 vaccinations

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Young girl watching her being injected with COVID-19 vaccine at a medical clinic.  

Ocala, Florida — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County announces new changes with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Certain children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for boosters.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends booster vaccinations for moderately or severely immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11.

Under the CDC’s latest guideline, children with moderately or severely compromised immune systems may receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after receiving their second dose in the primary vaccination series.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children under age 18.

Adults have a shorter wait for boosters

The CDC also has reduced the wait time between the initial vaccine series and a booster dose for people 18 and older who have received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

They are now eligible for a booster shot five months after finishing their primary series instead of the previously recommended six months.

That change also applies to children ages 12 to 17. Again, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one authorized for children under age 18.

People 18 and older may choose from the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a second shot after two months.

Vaccination availability

COVID-19 vaccines for anyone 5 or older are available at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.

To make a vaccination appointment, visit tinyurl.com/MakeMarionFLVaxAppt. The vaccine is available for free.

The department provides vaccinations from 8:30–11 a.m. and 1–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at its main office, 1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala.

The department encourages those with questions about vaccines, whether for themselves or their children, to consult with their health care provider.

According to the CDC, the Pfizer vaccine for children under 12 has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults and adolescents, but the dose for 5- to 11-year-olds is only one-third the amount in the adult vaccine. The vaccine also is administered with smaller needles designed specifically for children.

Besides the Department of Health in Marion County, vaccines can be obtained throughout the county at many pharmacies, doctor’s offices, clinics, and health centers.

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