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Demand for COVID vaccine great, residents breathe sigh of relief after getting booster shot

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 5:55 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - More than 14,000 people in Marion County have received both of their COVID-19 vaccine shots.

At the Heart a Florida Health Center, up to 300 people per hour are receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The demand was so high, they had to expand next door.

Related story: COVID-19 vaccine available at Heart of Florida Health Center

“What we were able to do was actually expand our access and be able to rent, lease one of the outer parcels next to our building and named it our Vaccine Annex so that we could operate more patients for their first doses as well as their second dose, and so we have the ability now to see about 1,500 patients per day provided we have the vaccine,” Heart of Florida Health Center CEO, Jamie Ulmer said.

Inside the annex, you’ll see a registration booth, a holding area, observation area, and of course precious vaccine going into arms.

Gigi Vlamis, with her husband Louis and friend Dianne Gilson, drove up from The Villages to receive their second dose.

“I feel fantastic,” Vlamis simply said.

And both Vlamis and Gilson agreed, it was a pleasant experience.

“It’s been so easy and they’re so organized. It just amazes me,” Gilson said.

According to the World Health Organization, there is an immunity boost when you get the vaccine but, experts say they don’t quite know yet how long that immunity lasts.

And while these friends said they do feel better with both COVID-19 vaccine shots, Vlamis said she’ll still use caution.

“I will still wear my mask and I will still take my precautions,” Vlamis added.

Related story: From the freezer to your arm: a look at the COVID-19 vaccine process

Heart of Florida staff said that with handling both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and trying to schedule so many people to come back and get a second shot, they are following CDC guidance where in certain cases, scheduling some patients a few days early just so they can get everybody in so they can get their vaccine.

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