Here’s how to get a COVID vaccine at a just-opened federal site in the Miami area

Michelle Marchante
·3 min read

South Florida’s first federal mass vaccination site opened Wednesday morning, prepared to administer 3,000 doses a day in tents at Miami Dade College’s north campus.

The campus, off of Northwest 113th Street and 27th Avenue near Opa-locka, is one of four federal mass vaccination sites that opened across the state early Wednesday. The other three sites opened in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.

Miami-Dade County’s government had already been using MDC North’s campus to give vaccines. Now that it’s opened as a federal site, here’s what you need to know about getting a dose:

Ralph Morris, 67, is injected with a COVID-19 vaccine by a U.S. Army medic during opening day of the FEMA vaccination site on Miami Dade College’s North Campus on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Ralph Morris, 67, is injected with a COVID-19 vaccine by a U.S. Army medic during opening day of the FEMA vaccination site on Miami Dade College’s North Campus on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine at MDC North federal mass vaccination site?

MDC North’s federal site will follow state criteria for vaccine eligibility. This means that under Florida’s guidelines, the following people are eligible for a dose.

Seniors 65 and older

Healthcare personnel with direct patient contact

Long-term care facility residents and staff

K-12 school employees 50 and older

Sworn law enforcement officers 50 and older

Firefighters 50 and older

Anyone under 65 who a physician determines is “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 because of a preexisting medical condition.

You must show proof of Florida residency. There is no county residency requirement, which means Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach residents can also get the vaccine at this site.

Healthcare workers, school staff, police and firefighters will also need to show proof of employment, such as a badge, at the site. Anyone under 65 with an at risk condition will need to present a signed form from their physician. The form can be downloaded at floridahealthcovid19.gov.

Do you need to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at MDC North?

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, which is tasked with the state’s vaccine distribution, states on its website that federally supported vaccination sites like MDC North will be first-come, first-served. No appointments are required for this site.

When the site was first announced last month, it was said that vaccinations would be by appointment.

Now the division says that you can show up without an appointment. If all slots are full for that day, staff will schedule an appointment for you to receive the vaccine at a later date.

For those who want to make sure they get a dose when they arrive, the division says people can pre-register for an appointment through Florida’s statewide registration system myvaccine.fl.gov or by calling Miami-Dade County’s designated scheduling hotline: 888-499-0840.

The state’s online portal updated Wednesday to include K-12 school employees, police or firefighters ages 50 and older. As of late Wednesday, MDC North’s vaccination site is still not listed under the portal’s section for Miami-Dade County.

Vials of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be used during opening day of the FEMA vaccination site on Miami Dade College’s North Campus on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Vials of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be used during opening day of the FEMA vaccination site on Miami Dade College’s North Campus on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

Is MDC North a walk-up or drive-thru vaccination site?

Florida says it’s a walk-up site with air-conditioned tents and chairs so people don’t have to stand while waiting for their shots. MDC North had previously served as a drive-thru site when it was administering doses scheduled through Miami-Dade County’s online portal.

Anyone who previously booked a first-dose appointment through miamidade.gov/vaccine may still be scheduled to receive their second dose at the site, according to the county’s COVID-19 vaccination web page.

Miami Dade College North campus vaccine site: Hours of operations

Starting Wednesday, MDC North’s vaccination site will be open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.