COVID vaccine live updates: What you should know in South Florida on Thursday, Feb. 25

Michelle Marchante
·9 min read

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?

COVID-19 vaccination sites opened Thursday near Miami’s Overtown area, at a North Miami-Dade park and Broward College’s Coconut Creek campus to better reach the “underserved areas in Florida,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. The trio is one of six recently opened locations meant to close the vaccination gap that has left Florida’s Black residents behind.

Winn-Dixie on Thursday announced that it will be expanding its COVID-19 vaccine rollout to include additional Florida counties and two dozen more stores in an effort to “reach even more underserved communities.”

Pfizer on Thursday announced it is studying a third booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine to see if it would increase protection against the emerging COVID variants, NBC News reports.

Walmart on Thursday will open a drive-thru vaccination site in Broward County for seniors 65 and older and healthcare workers with direct patient contact. The Lauderdale Lakes store, 3001 N. State Road 7, will administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by appointment-only. The big-box retailer is also opening drive-thru clinics elsewhere in Florida, including Orlando and Jacksonville.

Vaccination rates in majority-Black communities, including West Perrine, lag those of white and more affluent neighborhoods. That’s even as Miami-Dade County and Jackson Health System have tried to correct disparities by partnering with Black churches and community groups. Vaccine hesitancy, lack of information and access are part of the problem — and as the county begins to vaccinate younger residents, Black seniors say they feel left behind.

Researchers say they’ve found a new COVID variant in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast with a mutation that helps it evade the body’s natural immune response, CNN reports. The mutation was first found in the COVID variant discovered in South Africa and appears to “evade, somewhat” the body’s response to vaccines as well.

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, 1,299,609 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida and 1,492,509 people have completed the series of two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Of those who completed the two-dose vaccination, 164,514 were Miami-Dade residents, 139,516 were Broward residents, 143,634 were Palm Beach residents and 5,893 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?

All Navarro Discount Pharmacies and CVS y más stores in Miami-Dade have vaccines in stock. Winn-Dixie, Walmart, Harveys, Sam’s Club and Fresco y Más also have vaccines available in select counties. Publix has vaccines too but not in Miami-Dade and Broward, the counties hit hardest during the pandemic. Walgreens will 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.

The new website is myvaccine.fl.gov. You can also pre-register by phone. To find the designated number for your county, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov.

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 include Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Marlins Park in Miami and Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale. The full list can be found online. 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.

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.

Miami-Dade County:

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/.

Navarro Discount Pharmacies and CVS y más stores in Miami-Dade. To check for availability, visit CVS.com or call customer service at 800-746-7287

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.

Broward County:

Walmart drive-thru vaccination clinic at 3001 N. State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes. Call 833-886-0023 to check for availability.

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.

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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

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.

For Winn-Dixie, check https://www.winndixie.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine. For Publix, check https://www.publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida.