x
Breaking News
More () »

Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

COVID vaccines open to everyone 16 and older starting today in Florida

"When it's available for my children I will definitely have them get the vaccines as well," said Sondra Santana, a mother in Clay County.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Monday, Florida joins some of the states that are now allowing all adults to get vaccinated.

Teens 16- and 17-years-old can only get the Pfizer vaccine and must be accompanied by a guardian and bring a consent form

If you haven't already registered, you can here and you'll be contacted to make an appointment. However, you don't need an appointment can just show up.

Florida is getting more of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine than ever before and more than double the number the state got last time.

"As soon as I get the opportunity I'm gonna grab the vaccine," said Austin Belet, a senior at UNF. "I'm stoked. I'm ready to be vaccinated and armored up against this microscopic illness."

RELATED: Florida teens 16+ can get Pfizer vaccine starting Monday, must fill out this form

For Belet, vaccines open to all adults feels like 'finally the day has come!' But it's also a test of vaccine hesitancy in Florida and America. Belet has seen a hesitancy among his peers.

"It feels kind of like a split reaction to me," he said. "There are some people who are like, 'I don't care what it takes, I just want to be able to go to the bar again.' There are some people who, I find, that are concerned about the long-term impacts of it, especially how quickly it's been manufactured. I think that comes from a source of like, not really understanding how medicine works."

Scientists weren't starting from scratch. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are hundreds of coronaviruses.

Keyana Core is one of the people Belet's age who isn't jumping in line for the vaccine.

"I am willing to try it out," Core said. "As long as I see more test trials and more positive things about it I'm willing to take it."

More than six million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose in Florida. Here's some advice for avoiding lines: health department data shows the number of people getting their first doses on the weekends is sometimes nearly 100,000 less than during the week.

The numbers fluctuate a lot. Last week, 30,000 fewer people were vaccinated on the busiest day compared to the busiest day the week before. That could all change now. 

Doctors advise not being picky and to get whichever vaccine is available to you first.

"When it's available for my children I will definitely have them get the vaccines as well," said Sondra Santana, a mother in Clay County.

Santana's sons are eight and 13. In the past year, all four of her immediate family members got COVID-19. Her hunch is her kids brought it home, which highlights the importance of why she plans to get them vaccinated ASAP.

"Just because it doesn't necessarily affect them, it can spread it and they can share it with their teachers, people at church," Santana said.

Last week Pfizer announced its vaccine is 100 percent effective in adolescents 12 to 15 years old.

Doctors say side effects are technically good because they mean your immune system is responding correctly. The most common side effects are arm soreness, body aches, and fatigue which usually last one to two days.

It's unclear exactly how many people get side effects but in vaccine trials, up to 15 percent of the people had "noticeable" side effects.

See where to get a vaccine here.