Florida has already managed to rapidly move up their COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline, extending eligibility to everybody 16 years of age and older on April 5.
When the vaccine was first given in December, it was originally only for senior citizens, high-risk patients and frontline health workers. However, the age restrictions have been significantly lowering, dropping from those of 65 years old to those 16 and above in just a month.
Though teenagers can now get the vaccine as well, there are still some restrictions on how they get vaccinated. For one, teens can only get the Pfizer vaccine and do not have the option of getting either the Johnson & Johnson’s or Moderna vaccine. These restrictions stem from the fact that they have not conducted much testing on the effects of the vaccine on kids younger than 18.
Even when the vaccine was only available to senior citizens, vaccine-goers would have to wait hours in line for their vaccines. Now that more of the population is eligible to receive it, there will most likely be increased wait times for the vaccine. However, this does not mean that there is no hope for those looking to get vaccinated; there are plenty of sites that are offering vaccines, meaning more chances for appointments.
Some sites that are offering vaccinations are Miami-Dade College campuses, retail pharmacies, state vaccine centers like Zoo Miami or the Hard Rock Stadium and pop-ups that do not require appointments and hospitals.
“Regarding the new restrictions allowing for teens to get the COVID-19 vaccine, I am willing to get the vaccine, but I am currently not registered, though I am planning on applying in the future,” sophomore Sofia Rodriguez said.
Though requirements vary according to location, those getting a vaccine should remember to take a form of photo identification. Those interested should also keep their vaccine card as it provides important information regarding dates for their second dose, as well as proof of having been vaccinated. For teenagers aged 16-17, a consent form is required in order to get the vaccine, as well as parent accompaniment to the appointment.
By going on myvaccine.fl.gov, those eligible can preregister to get in line for the next available appointment. For those aged 16-21, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital offers appointments that those signing up will be notified of 72 hours after registering (if eligible). On Twitter, @jacksonhealth posts almost every day whenever they have appointments available. After an opening is posted, those interested can go on jacksonhealth.org and schedule their vaccine.
“Once my family and I heard that the vaccine was now available for teens, we immediately scheduled an appointment so that I could get one,” junior Hannah White said.
Efficacy rates for each vaccine are still proving to be very strong. Pfizer has been shown to have a 94 percent efficacy rate, and new data may even show that it has a 100 percent efficacy rate in children ages 12-15. Moderna is also reported to have had a 94 percent efficacy rate. Real world studies that have just been conducted by the CDCP show that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 90 percent effective against the virus. Johnson and Johnson has been said to have a 72 percent efficacy rate.
With all these different locations for vaccinations and the age restrictions being lowered to include nearly every citizen, it seems as if Florida is on track to have most of its residents vaccinated pretty soon.