HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Starting Monday, all adults will be able to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
The Florida Department of Health said it will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine when eligibility expands Monday.
Residents 16 and 17 years of age will need to have a form signed by their parents to authorize them to get the shot or be accompanied by a parent to the vaccine site.
The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for teenagers.
Hillsborough County Department of Health Spokesperson Kevin Watler said county sites primarily carry the Pfizer vaccine.
Watler said the county will likely experience a rush next week as the age expands.
“Anytime we have that change of age we have a lot of excited people coming and getting vaccinated, so yes, it’s going to be on the busier side. We anticipate it’s going to be quite busy when it changes again on Monday,” said Watler.
He despite the possible rush of people, officials are ready to administer vaccines.
“Next week it looks like we’re going to have about 42,000 available first doses. That’s a lot of availability for those who want to get their vaccine,” Watler said.
As the age group expands, the concern is getting the younger population vaccinated. Experts say they are seeing vaccine hesitancy among younger age groups.
“This age group seems to be the main driver of transmission. And what we’ve seen, from the number with COVID cases, is that the numbers are going up,” said Dr. Michael Teng with USF Health.
Teng said it is critical for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“If we don’t do it quickly we’re going to continue this kind of long train of infections, and it’s going to last a lot longer than it needs to,” he said.
Floridians are encouraged to pre-register at www.myvaccine.fl.gov. Once pre-registered, they’ll be contacted when the vaccine is available in their area. Floridians can also call the vaccine pre-registration phone number for their county online.