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?
▪ Miami-Dade residents struggling to pay rent during the pandemic can now apply for the county’s emergency rental assistance program. Tenants apply for the relief, and if approved, the rent payment will be mailed directly to their landlords. Landlords can also refer their tenants to the program. Deadline to apply is 5 p.m. March 15.
▪ Jackson Health System will open COVID-19 vaccine appointments later Tuesday for law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school personnel ages 50 and older. The hospital is also lowering its age requirement from 55 to 50 for people with medical conditions that make them high risk for COVID complications.
▪ Snowbirds don’t count when it comes to vaccine doses. The Department of Health and Human Services declined a request by state lawmakers to increase the state’s allocation to account for the thousands of visitors who flock to Florida for the winter.
▪ Five months. That’s how long 55-year-old Isabel Pupo from Miami Beach was in Mount Sinai Medical Center being treated for COVID-19 and pneumonia. At many points during her hospitalization, doctors doubted she would make it.
▪ It’s been a year since Florida reported its first known infections, though the disease likely began spreading in the Sunshine State in January 2020. Florida has recorded a known total of 1,910,921 coronavirus cases and 31,556 total deaths.
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. Sworn law enforcement, firefighters and K-12 school personnel ages 50 and older are also eligible for the vaccine. Hospitals, doctor offices and pharmacies can also choose to give the vaccine to people under 65 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 Monday COVID-19 vaccine report, 1,343,423 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida and 1,691,213 people have completed the series of two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Of those who completed the two-dose vaccination, 180,294 were Miami-Dade residents, 150,023 were Broward residents, 159,373 were Palm Beach residents and 6,666 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.
Florida is also hoping to receive its first shipment this week of the Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, which received emergency use authorization during the weekend by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
COVID-19 vaccination sites in South Florida?
The following pharmacies offer COVID-19 vaccines in select stores by appointment-only:
▪ All Publix stores in Florida offer vaccines. For appointments, visit publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida.
▪ All Navarro Discount Pharmacies and CVS y más stores in Miami-Dade. Some traditional CVS stores across Florida also have doses. To check for availability, visit CVS.com or call customer service at 800-746-7287.
▪ A few Winn-Dixie stores in the Keys and Miami-Dade have vaccines. One Fresco y Más store in Miami-Dade also have doses. For Winn-Dixie, visit winndixie.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine. For Fresco y Mas, visit frescoymas.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine.
▪ Some Walmart and Sam’s Club stores offer vaccines, including in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Walmart, visit walmart.com/COVIDvaccine. For Sam’s Clubs, visit samsclub.com/covid.
▪ Walgreens still doesn’t have vaccines in stock.
State-run sites in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties
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.
State-run sites in Miami-Dade County include Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and Marlins Park in Miami. Also recently added: a parking lot-turned-vaccine-site, 1551 NW First Ave., near Miami’s Overtown area; Oak Grove Park community center, 690 NE 159th St.; and Broward College’s Coconut Creek campus. Appointments can also be scheduled online or by phone for Miami Dade College’s North campus, which will be turning into the area’s first federal “mass vaccination” site next month.
State-run sites in Broward County include Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs, Markham Park in Sunrise, Tree Tops Park in Davie, Trade Winds Park in Coconut Creek and Central Regional Park in Lauderhill.
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.
Hospitals and other COVID-19 vaccination sites in Miami-Dade, Broward
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, Miami Dade College North Campus 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:
▪ Jackson Health System, the county’s public hospital network, has launched an online portal for people 65 and older and people 55 to 64 with one of 13 medical conditions to schedule vaccine appointments. To check for available appointments, visit https://jhsmiami.org/comvac/.
▪ 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/
▪ 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.
▪ Walmart drive-thru vaccination clinic at 3001 N. State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes. Call 833-886-0023 to check for availability.
▪ Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale is offering COVID-19 vaccines to people under 65 who have certain medical conditions that make them at risk for severe COVID complications. Priority will be given to Holy Cross Medical Group patients, the hospital said. For details on how to request an appointment, visit www.holy-cross.com/covidvaccine.
▪ Broward Health, the hospital network, is offering appointments to seniors 65 and older, healthcare workers, emergency medical service providers and people 18 and older with certain at risk conditions. All of its slots are full for now. To check for appointments, visit https://www.browardhealth.org/pages/being-healthy-vaccine
▪ 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.
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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.
▪ 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
COVID-19 vaccines in Monroe County?
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.