First-dose Pfizer shots coming back to federal hub sites in Florida during J&J pause

Michelle Marchante
·2 min read

First-dose Pfizer shots will soon be available again at Miami Dade College North campus and the other FEMA hub sites in Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, to increase vaccine access during the state’s ongoing J&J pause.

The shots will be available again starting Tuesday, April 20. MDC North and the other FEMA hub sites will also continue to offer second-dose Pfizer shots.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management, which oversees the state’s vaccine distribution, confirmed the change to the Miami Herald on Friday.

It comes a few days after Florida stopped using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, as was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while officials investigate reports of rare blood clots.

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“Right now, we anticipate first-dose capacity will be lower than the 3,000 doses the site was previously administering. However, more information on first-dose capacity will be available Monday, April 19,” the division said in an email.

MDC North and the other FEMA-supported hubs had switched to J&J earlier this month ahead of their May 26 planned closings. Then the federal government suggested a pause in the J&J vaccine to look into reported blood clots.

Now the sites are back to Pfizer, which requires two shots, 21 days apart. The sites are still expected to close at the end of May.

“The state understands residents may have concerns that they will not be able to receive their second dose Pfizer vaccine prior to the sites closing,” the division said in an email. “However, the state and FEMA are committed to ensuring that all individuals who receive their first dose at a federally supported vaccination site are able to receive their second dose.”

Florida has not announced yet if it plans to extend operations at the sites or if the state will direct people to other locations for a second dose. If it’s the latter, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will likely be one of the options. Any Florida resident who needs their second Pfizer shot can go there, even if they got their first shot elsewhere.