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?
▪ Coral Springs opened a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Coral Square Mall Wednesday. But there has been confusion. You do need an appointment despite some potentially misleading language you may have heard via some local radio stations, according to the city. Coral Square Mall location is a “walk in with appointment (not drive thru) site.” That does not mean “walk up” without an appointment.
▪ Memorial Healthcare System announced Wednesday morning that there are COVID-19 vaccine appointment slots available again. Current patients were told they could schedule an appointment through their MyChart portal, https://mychart.mhs.net. Others have to call 954-276-4340. But by 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, the website said all of those slots were filled and to check back when you can.
▪ Applications are live for a fresh round of Paycheck Protection Program loans worth more than $284 billion for businesses that need help paying their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who received funds in the first-go-around last year can reapply starting Wednesday if they meet select criteria. Expenses paid with a PPP loan, even if forgiven, can also be deducted on your business’ 2020 taxes. To apply, visit sba.gov.
▪ The federal government on Tuesday announced it will be releasing millions of reserved COVID-19 doses, including doses that were being held back for the second round of shots. Officials involved with the country’s vaccine distribution said it was always part of the plan despite pushing back on a similar idea from President-elect Joe Biden last week, according to U.S. News & World Report.
▪ According to the Florida’s Tuesday COVID-19 vaccine report, 648,353 people have been vaccinated in the state — with 51,234 people completing the series of two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
▪ More Publix pharmacies will be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines in Florida, adding to the 22 stores in the state already scheduling appointments. The stores are not in South Florida. Appointments are set to begin Thursday and can be scheduled at publix.com/covidvaccine.
▪ A new appointment-only COVID-19 vaccination site for seniors opened Wednesday at Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs. But don’t head for 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd. with your sleeves rolled up just yet. Appointments won’t be available until the thousands of people who booked an appointment earlier this month through Broward County’s Department of Health get their shots first.
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, including snowbirds. Florida does not plan to require teachers and students to get the vaccine, even if one meant for children becomes available by next school year.
Florida does not have a statewide residency requirement to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This means if you live in Miami-Dade, you can get the vaccine in Broward or vice versa.
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.
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.
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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 plans to post 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 also schedules appointments through the website. All slots are full, though more are expected to open soon. Previously, the county has scheduled appointments for its drive-thru vaccination site at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St.; at the Baptist hospital system; or facilities run by the state’s Department of Health.
Marlins Park in Miami, a popular COVID-19 testing site, is in the process of being converted into a vaccination site, date still unknown.
At the moment, here are the other places offering vaccines:
▪ Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach is booking appointments for people 75 and older and will eventually lower it to 65. Call 305-674-2312 to schedule an appointment, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday through Sunday.
▪ Jackson Health System, the county’s public hospital network, has launched an online portal for people 65 and older to schedule vaccine appointments. All of its appointment slots are full, but the hospital plans to add more in the future. To check for available appointments, visit https://jhsmiami.org/comvac/.
▪ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Friday began providing vaccinations by appointment to seniors and front-line healthcare workers. Appointments filled up quickly. By calling 888-499-0840 or the TTY line at 888-256-8918, you can sign up for an update on when vaccination slots will be open again.
Baptist Health, one of the county’s largest private hospitals, began offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments Friday to seniors 65 and older and to those at risk of falling seriously ill with the disease. Slots were full within two hours. The hospital expects to have additional appointments available in the future. To check for appointments, 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 is also receiving Moderna doses to vaccinate FIU healthcare faculty and staff members who have direct contact with patients, possibly this week.
▪ 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 all of its vaccination appointments full 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 has COVID-19 vaccines available for senior citizens again. The hospital is now offering Moderna vaccines. Previously, it was giving out Pfizer-BioNTech. appointments can be made at 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 created a website to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments. All appointment slots are full. The health department says it plans to add additional appointment slots in the coming weeks at https://browardcovidvaccine.com/.
The appointment-only vaccine sites listed on the website above include:
▪ Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek — open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
▪ Vista View Park, 4001 SW 142nd Ave., Davie — open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
▪ Markham Park & Target Range, 16001 W. State Road 84 in Sunrise — open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
▪ Holiday Park and War Memorial in Fort Lauderdale, a former COVID-19 testing site that reopened as a vaccine site.
▪ 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
People in the Florida Keys who are 65 and older will be able to register online or by phone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, possibly this week, the Florida Health Department in Monroe County told the Miami Herald.
But the department couldn’t say when the vaccines will arrive.
So far, Monroe is reserving appointments only for healthcare professionals and people with special needs who are 65 and over and are registered with Monroe County Emergency Management — meaning they need special assistance during emergency evacuations and times when storm shelters are open.
For seniors in the general population, a website and phone number to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments is still on hold.