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OC announces vaccine eligibility for ages 40+, online help for mental health, free transportation expanded and more


From the Orange County Newsroom


Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Drive-Thru Vaccination Site at the Orange County Convention Center has been expanded to include Florida residents 40 years old or older starting Monday, March 22, 2021 at 9 a.m.

Right now, anyone meeting the following requirements can register for an appointment at the Convention Center from March 22 through March 27.

The current list of eligible residents includes:

Residents 60+ (residents 40-59 can register for appointments beginning Monday, March 22, 2021)

Long-term care facility residents and staff (any age)

Health care professionals with direct patient contact (any age)

All educators and staff in schools/colleges/licensed day cares (any age)

Law enforcement officers, corrections, firefighters and staff at those agencies (any age)

Extremely medically vulnerable/high-risk

Resident must bring required state form signed by a physician. Residents who are un/under-insured may visit a Primary Care Access Clinic to see a physician.

To book an appointment, or to find other vaccination options in the County, visit ocfl.net/Vaccine.

ORANGECONNECTS: Online Help for Mental Health Issues

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have reported an increase level of stress or anxiety. It is important to be mindful of your own personal needs to ensure a safe and healthy lifestyle.

To help residents achieve this, Orange County Government has launched its OrangeConnects Program, developed by mental health experts in Orange County’s Community and Family Services Department.

The program is a confidential, free web-based navigation platform that connects residents with behavior/mental health providers in their area. The online tool will ask a short list of questions about the resident’s thoughts and feelings, and then matches them to a list of providers who specialize in supporting those needs.

Orange Connects is for any resident experiencing difficulties and can help with:


Feeling anxious or stressed

Not eating or sleeping

Inability to focus

Scary thoughts or dreams

Problems with a child's behavior

Feeling angry

Using drugs or alcohol too much

Difficulty paying attention

Difficulty getting things done

Feeling that you don't want to live any longer

needing support related to your gender or sexuality

Anything else that is bothering you

For more information, visit ocfl.net/OrangeConnects.


Residents who are now 60 and older who do not have a way to transport themselves to the Convention Center site or the FEMA hub site (Valencia College West Campus) can dial 3-1-1 to find out how to qualify for a ride. Call takers will coordinate with the Office of Emergency Management in Orange County to find free transportation options, courtesy of LYNX.

LYNX needs at least two-day prior notice (before 5 p.m.) to schedule a ride. Since the Orange County’s Office of Emergency Management does not operate on weekends, any ride needed for a Saturday or Monday, must be made the prior Friday at the latest during regular business hours.

To qualify for a ride to the Convention Center, the senior must be able to prove they have a valid vaccination appointment. A family member or caregiver may also ride along.

To qualify for a ride to the FEMA site where no appointments are necessary, the senior must still give 48 hours’ notice so LYNX can prepare for the ride.

If you live outside Orange County, 3-1-1 can be accessed by dialing 407-836-3111.


The Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance program continues to be available to residents.

As the program staff continues to review applications, it is important that ALL applicants review:

Required documents

Eligibility criteria

Frequently asked questions

The City of Orlando is creating its own emergency rental assistance program with a funding allocation from the Federal Government. Therefore, tenants whose rental properties are located within the City of Orlando do not qualify for the County’s program. While addresses may read “Orlando, Florida,” such properties may still be located in unincorporated Orange County. To check your address, visit ocfl.net/RentalAssistance.

Residents living in unincorporated Orange County, Apopka, Bay Lake, Belle Isle, Eatonville, Edgewood, Lake Buena Vista, Oakland, Ocoee, Windermere, Winter Garden and Winter Park are eligible for the County’s program.


The FEMA-operated vaccination hub at Valencia College West Campus (1800 S. Kirkman Road) remains open 7 days per week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The site will remain open indefinitely. No appointments necessary.

Below are the current temporary FEMA satellite locations in Orange County. No appointments necessary. Additional FEMA satellite locations will be announced once approved by the state.

Northwest Neighborhood Center (walk up)

3955 W D Judge Drive, Orlando, FL 32808

March 18 - 20, 2021

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

South Orange Youth Sports Complex (drive-thru)

11800 S Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32824

March 21-23, 2021

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

COVID-19, Emergency Rental Assistance, Expanded Eligibility, FEMA Vaccination Sites, Free Transportation Expanded, Mental Health Issues, Online Help, Orange County Government, OrangeConnects, Vaccination


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