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University of Florida turns ‘The Swamp’ into mass vaccination site

More than 5,200 UF students, Alachua County residents vaccinated Monday

Photos from vaccination event at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Photos from vaccination event at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (News4Jax.com)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Starting Monday, any adult in Florida is eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

In addition, the state announced that teenagers ages 16 and 17 can also get the vaccine with parental permission.

In an effort to get students inoculated, the University of Florida’s Athletics Department is working with UF Health and the local health department to administer the vaccine at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. More than 5,200 UF students and Alachua County residents received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday at “The Swamp.”

University and health officials hope to meet a goal of vaccinating 20,000 per week, a news release said.

The event is open to anyone eligible for the vaccine.

News outlets reported long lines outside a federally-run FEMA site in Orlando on Monday morning. FEMA has three other federally-run sites in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. Starting on Tuesday, these sites will offer the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, officials said.

Azul Thurdekoos, 16, said she was excited to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Miami on Monday morning. She plays volleyball and feels she may be more at risk being around teammates.

“So I came here to protect myself as well as my family," she said. “I was actually really excited to get it. I wasn't nervous at all."

She added that much of her family lives in Ecuador, including her grandparents.

You have to be really careful with them," she said, adding that she is glad she can visit and “be more safe" around her.

On Monday, the state reported that 3,686,180 Floridians had been completely inoculated, and another 2,670,869 had received the first dose of the vaccine, according to the Florida Department of Health.