COVID vaccine live updates: What you should know in South Florida on Friday, Feb. 26

Michelle Marchante
·10 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?

Broward Health started offering COVID-19 vaccines to at-risk people 18 and over Friday, including people with diabetes and asthma and a BMI of more than 25. The available slots filled up quickly, but may reopen soon.

How has Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis handled the COVID-19 pandemic? The Herald/Times reviewed eight key calls DeSantis made during the first year of the pandemic. Those episodes reveal an executive who opted to go it alone, drawing his own conclusions from preferred metrics. Even when his instincts proved right, DeSantis was often undercut by mixed messaging and unclear orders.

New vaccine sites are popping up across Florida as more than 100 new locations will be administering the vaccine, including some aimed at reaching “underserved areas” in the state. These sites include pharmacies like Publix and Winn-Dixie.

Vaccine appointments for seniors 65 and older became available Friday at all 730 Publix pharmacies, including in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. To check for a slot, visit publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida.

The school superintendents of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools both announced this week that they are working toward holding modified, in-person high school graduations. Prom, however, is trickier.

Florida State University and the University of Florida are planning to host smaller in-person graduations for spring semester graduates, a sign that the state’s higher education institutions are preparing to return to normalcy.

The more-infectious “U.K. variant” is facing a tougher fight as it cements its foothold in Florida, where nearly half of the state’s residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine and nearly a third of the population may have already been infected by the virus, according to estimates. While experts remain concerned that the variant could spike infections, they’re also hopeful Floridians natural or vaccine-induced immunity could blunt the impact of the more-contagious strain.

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 is next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida?

Florida is planning to lower the age requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations sometime in March, said Gov. Ron DeSantis. Some details are still lacking, like how much the age will lower, and whether the state will make shots available to essential workers and people considered medically vulnerable.

DeSantis suggested earlier this week in Miami that teachers and law enforcement officers ages 50 and older would get access to vaccines next, through four federal vaccination sites opening across the state, including one in Miami.

South Florida teachers are next in line for a COVID vaccine. Here are the next steps

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 Thursday COVID-19 vaccine report, 1,298,556 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida and 1,539,770 people have completed the series of two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Of those who completed the two-dose vaccination, 167,878 were Miami-Dade residents, 141,900 were Broward residents, 147,576 were Palm Beach residents and 6,050 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?

Pharmacies:

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.

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 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

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/.

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

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.

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