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?
▪ Florida is now in the process of scheduling appointments for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Frontline healthcare workers and seniors 65 and older who received their first dose of the vaccine at Hard Rock Stadium will be contacted by a phone number that begins with a “786” area code, according to the division.
▪ Jackson Health System made COVID-19 vaccine appointments available again early Tuesday — and they were gone within eight minutes.
▪ A more contagious and slightly deadlier version of the COVID virus appears to be taking off in Florida, where the number of known cases doubled in the last week. In Florida, B.1.1.7 (otherwise called the “UK variant”) cases jumped from 46 to 92, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which updated the data on Monday evening. Florida has led the country in known cases since last week, though California trails closely with 90 known cases.
▪ Florida hospitals can vaccinate those under 65 with pre-existing health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19. But as the vaccine supply from the federal government to hospitals lags while other vaccination sites start to pop up in places like Publix pharmacies, hospitals have had to cancel first-dose appointments and scramble to notify patients that they don’t have enough vaccines available. It has left many feeling like they’re out of options.
▪ Broward County needs help distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the community and is looking for active and retired healthcare professionals interested in giving a hand. Interested volunteers can apply at http://browardmru.com/registernow/.
▪ President Joe Biden’s press secretary said that Florida has used only half of its COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, noting that the state — where over-65 residents have been struggling to get appointments for the shots — has “a good deal of the vaccine.” The comments from press secretary Jen Psaki came after she was asked during a White House briefing about criticism last week from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Biden’s vaccine distribution plan.
▪ Jackson Health System doesn’t know how many COVID-19 vaccine appointment slots it will have available each day. But if you’re a Miami-Dade resident 65 or over, circling like a hawk on Jackson’s appointments offers two advantages: You have a general idea of when the slots will open up and, if you get one, it will be for the same day or the next day.
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.
There is now a statewide residency requirement in place. This means if you live in Miami-Dade, you can get the vaccine in Broward or vice versa. Anyone 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, 1,249,439 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida and 157,972 people have completed the series of two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Of those who completed the two-dose vaccination, 23,768 were Miami-Dade residents, 17,750 were Broward residents and 323 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. South Florida, which has been hit hardest during the pandemic, is not among the locations. That might change in the future. Walgreens, CVS, Winn-Dixie, Walmart and other pharmacies will also eventually have vaccines in stock.
For now, here are your options in South Florida:
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.
The county schedules appointments through the website for vaccination sites including Zoo Miami and Tropical Park.
At the moment, here are the places offering 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 and if appointments are full, you can sign up for an update on when slots are open again.
▪ 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.
Listen to today's top stories from the Miami Herald:
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., is set to open Tuesday.
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
There is a delay in the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County’s website and call center for vaccine registration. Officials earlier this month said it was because of the state’s “unanticipated lag” in delivering additional COVID-19 vaccines to the Keys.
So far, the doses the health department received prior to the delivery lag have been used to vaccinate healthcare workers and people 65 and older with special needs by appointment-only. People in long-term facilities and nursing homes in Monroe are also being vaccinated by CVS and Walgreens.
For seniors in the general population, it’s still a waiting game on when they’ll be able to schedule their vaccination appointment.
However, you can try your luck at the Publix stores in Islamorada and Key West. For availability, check publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida