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Here’s what you need to know if you’re 50 or older and want to get vaccinated

Florida extends eligibility for the coronavirus shots to people 50 and older starting today.
 
People make appointments Jan. 5 for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Clearwater Health Department.
People make appointments Jan. 5 for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Clearwater Health Department. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published March 22, 2021|Updated March 22, 2021

TAMPA — Florida extends eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to people 50 and older starting today.

The move comes just one week after the state opened vaccinations to people 60 and older — after starting the vaccine rollout weeks ago with a minimum age of 65.

The expansion comes as many of the 3,000 doses allocated daily are going undelivered at one of the major vaccination sites in Hillsborough County, the Tampa Greyhound Track at Interstate 275 and Waters Avenue. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that Florida has seen “relatively modest” demand in recent days and reiterated that vaccinations would likely be expanded to Floridians 16 and older before May 1.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether lines will grow again with the expansion to those 50 and older. Vehicles were lining up at the greyhound track site by 5 a.m. today to await the 7 a.m. opening time.

Here are highlights of what you need to know if you’re 50 or older and want to get vaccinated. Click here for a complete guide to finding a coronavirus vaccine in Tampa Bay and Florida.

  • Among the places where you can get vaccinated are Tampa Greyhound Track, where no appointment is necessary; Raymond James Stadium; through the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties; Tampa Family Health Centers and Community Health Centers of Pinellas; and at retail stores such as Publix, CVS, Walgreens and Winn-Dixie.
  • Some vaccination sites don’t require appointments. But organizers of those that do have said it’s important you don’t show up early, because it will cause congestion and delay appointments ahead of yours.
  • Be prepared to wait at least 15 minutes after your shot so you can be monitored for any adverse reactions. And remember: Coronavirus vaccines are free to everyone, regardless of insurance status.
  • Make sure you bring a photo ID, such as a Florida driver’s license, that shows your name and date of birth. It’s also important to have proof of your vaccine appointment. This can be a printed copy or a screenshot of your confirmation.
  • If you are eligible for a shot because of your employment, bring something that confirms it, such as an employee ID card or pay stub. If you are seeking a vaccine because you are considered medically vulnerable, you must have a state of Florida form signed by a doctor.
  • As of March 22, the following groups should be eligible for vaccination at state-run sites: Health care workers with direct patient contact; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school employees aged 50 and older; people deemed medically vulnerable who have a signed form from a doctor; and any Floridian who is at least 50.

Staff writers Megan Reeves, Allison Ross, Natalie Weber and Kirby Wilson contributed to this report.

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