COVID-19 vaccines are now available in South Florida, and the rules on who can get a shot, where and when can be confusing.
Here’s what you need to know:
What’s new today?
▪ The portal where people register to get on Miami-Dade County’s wait list for COVID-19 vaccinations is English only. That’s a problem in a county where 75% of residents speak a language other than English at home, based on Census figures. A site representative says Spanish and Creole options should be available by the end of the week.
▪ The Biden administration is considering whether it should impose domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, to prevent the spread of more contagious COVID variants that appear to be surging, including the Sunshine State and California.
▪ A bill that would give broad immunity to nursing homes, hospitals and physicians from COVID-related lawsuits has moved through a Florida Senate committee. The bill is now track to be taken up by the full Senate early in the legislative session that starts March 2. Democrats on the committee worry the bill goes too far and would prevent families from pursuing legitimate claims.
▪ There’s a growing list of pharmacies securing batches of COVID-19 vaccines in Florida. So far, the state has doses in Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys. No vaccines yet at CVS and Walgreens.
Who can get COVID-19 vaccines in Florida and who cannot? Do you need proof of residency?
Florida is giving vaccines to healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, and people 65 and older. Hospitals can also choose to give the vaccine to people with health conditions that make them “at risk” of falling seriously ill with the disease.
Only Florida residents and snowbirds can get the vaccine but there is no county residency requirement in place. This means if you live in Miami-Dade, you can get the vaccine in Broward or vice versa. You will need to show proof of Florida residency.
For snowbirds or part-time residents, the proof needs to be in the form of two documents like a lease agreement and a utility bill no more than two months old, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Anyone else who lives in another state or country can no longer get the vaccine in Florida. Non-residents who have already received the vaccine in Florida will still be able to get the second dose.
The change was made to curb vaccine tourism, or people who travel from another state or country to get the vaccine in Miami or another part of the state.
Who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?
People who have had a severe allergic reaction to ingredients in the vaccine or had a severe reaction after a previous dose. Ingredients of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines can be found on FDA.gov.
How many people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida?
According to the state’s Wednesday COVID-19 vaccine report, 1,287,668 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida and 823,126 people have completed the series of two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Of those who completed the two-dose vaccination, 107,800 were Miami-Dade residents, 78,506 were Broward residents, 77,988 were Palm Beach residents and 3,917 were Monroe residents.
What COVID-19 vaccines are available in Florida? How many doses do I need?
Florida has two vaccines available: Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots, three weeks apart, and can be given to people 16 and older. Moderna’s vaccine requires two shots, one month apart, and can be given to people 18 and older. Neither vaccine will give you COVID-19.
The two vaccines are not interchangeable, however, which means that if your first shot was the Pfizer vaccine, your second shot cannot be the Moderna vaccine, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 vaccination sites in South Florida?
Publix has vaccines available in select Florida counties. Miami-Dade and Broward, the counties hit hardest during the pandemic, are not among the locations. Winn-Dixie, Walmart, Harveys, Sam’s Club and Fresco y Más also have vaccines available in select counties. CVS and Walgreens will also eventually have vaccines in stock.
For now, here are your options in South Florida:
Florida state-run sites
Seniors 65 and older and people with health conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 can now “save their place in line” by pre-registering for the vaccine in Florida through a new website and phone system.
Healthcare workers with direct patient contact and long-term care residents and staff can also pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone who pre-registers for a vaccine appointment will be notified when slots become available at state-supported vaccination sites in their county, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is tasked with the state’s vaccine distribution. Once you get an appointment, you will need to show proof that you are a Florida resident.
Florida residents who do not meet the priority criteria can also sign up to receive email updates to learn when they will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
The county has a website, miamidade.gov/vaccine, where it posts updates on where seniors, and eventually the rest of the general public, will be able to find and schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Seniors 65 and older and healthcare workers with direct patient contact can also sign up for an online wait list to be notified when appointments are available at county-run sites including Zoo Miami and Tropical Park. You can also call 305-614-2014 to pre-register.
Florida residents who don’t qualify for the vaccine yet can also sign up through the website to be given updates on the county’s vaccination process.
Here are other places that have vaccines:
▪ Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach is no longer booking appointments and has canceled all first-dose appointments for Jan. 23 and later because of supply constraints. Second-dose appointments are not affected. To check for updates, visit msmc.com/coronavirus-update/
▪ Jackson Health System, the county’s public hospital network, has launched an online portal for people 65 and older to schedule vaccine appointments. To check for available appointments, visit https://jhsmiami.org/comvac/.
▪ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is providing vaccinations by appointment to seniors and front-line healthcare workers. Appointments filled up quickly. Call 888-499-0840 or the TTY line at 888-256-8918.
▪ Marlins Park in Miami, a popular COVID-19 testing site, also has vaccines. For now, there is no municipal residency requirement, which means you do not need to live within the city limits to be vaccinated. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez wants to change that. For now, you just need to show proof of Florida residency. To schedule an appointment, call 888-499-0840. The number for the hearing impaired is 888-256-8918.
▪ Baptist Health, one of the county’s largest private hospitals, is no longer booking appointments and has canceled all first-dose appointments from Jan. 20 and beyond because of supply constraints. Second dose appointments are not affected. To check for updates, visit Baptisthealth.net/vaccine.
▪ Seniors 65 and older who seek care with Leon Medical Centers can call customer service at 305-642-5366 to schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If you need transportation, let the operator know so they can also schedule a driver to pick you up. Appointments will be scheduled until Leon runs out of vaccines.
▪ Pasteur and Wellmax Medical Centers are hoping to offer COVID-19 vaccines soon to seniors, including non-members. Both clinics are still waiting to receive vaccines.
▪ Florida International University has applied to be a vaccination site. The university also received Moderna doses to vaccinate FIU faculty and staff 65 and older as well as FIU healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients.
▪ Miami-Dade County has begun contacting homebound seniors age 65 and older who live in county facilities or receive county services to offer vaccination appointments.
▪ Miami Beach has begun administering COVID-19 vaccines to some seniors living in affordable housing or who are confined to their homes.
▪ Broward Health, the hospital network, has filled all of its vaccination appointments through February. However, it is working to schedule appointments at Fort Lauderdale’s Inter Miami CF Stadium. More on that below:
▪ Fort Lauderdale’s Inter Miami CF Stadium is now a COVID-19 vaccination site. Seniors 65 and older, office staff of Broward Health-credentialed physicians and other healthcare providers and their office staff can request an appointment online at BrowardHealth.org and a Broward Health scheduler will then respond to finish the appointment booking.
▪ Memorial Healthcare System ran out of COVID-19 vaccines again. Once doses are available again, appointments can be made through the MyChart portal, https://mychart.mhs.net for current Memorial Healthcare patients. Others will have to call 954-276-4340.
The appointment-only vaccine locations listed in the website above are:
The Memorial Regional Conference Center, 3501 Johnson St. in Hollywood, noon to 7:30 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
Memorial Specialty Pharmacy, 9581 Premier Pkwy. in Miramar, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
▪ The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has changed its scheduling process. Instead of requesting an appointment online, front-line healthcare workers and seniors 65 and older can now call 866-201-6313. The number for the hearing impaired is 833-476-1526.
Appointments are available at the numbers above for the following locations:
Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek
Vista View Park, 4001 SW 142nd Ave., Davie
Markham Park & Target Range, 16001 W. State Road 84 in Sunrise
Snyder Park, 3299 SW Fourth Ave, in Fort Lauderdale.
Central Broward Park and Broward County Stadium, 3700 NW 11th Pl. in Lauderhill.
Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs.
▪ All Cleveland Clinic Florida locations, including its Weston campus, have run out of vaccination appointments for now. Cleveland Clinic said it will resume scheduling appointments through its website for current patients once it gets more doses. To check for slots, visit https://my.clevelandclinic.org/landing/covid-19-vaccine/florida
More places are offering the COVID-19 vaccine in the Florida Keys.
Eligible Florida residents can now get vaccinated at Winn-Dixie stores in Key West and Tavernier, and at all Publix stores along the island chain. Appointments are required.
Also, the College of the Florida Keys is having a second mass vaccination event on Sunday.
— to www.miamiherald.com