FIU wants to be a COVID-19 vaccination site in Miami-Dade. Will it be approved?

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Florida International University has applied to be a COVID-19 vaccination site in Miami-Dade County, a university official confirmed to the Miami Herald Tuesday afternoon.

“We don’t know if or when we will receive approval,” said Madeline Baró, the director of media relations.

If the university is approved, and depending on how many vaccines it receives, it could eventually provide doses to members of the university community, including students, faculty, staff and their immediate family members, Baró said.

“We are eager to assist in getting our community as much access to the vaccines as possible and hope to become a point of distribution in the future,” FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in a statement to the Miami Herald.

Miami-Dade County still doesn’t have any drive-thru vaccination sites. County officials have previously told the Miami Herald there’s a chance it could get its first sites soon.

FIU faculty, staff 65 and older can get COVID-19 vaccine

On Monday, FIU said in an email to faculty and staff that it had a limited amount of vaccine appointments available with local healthcare providers, including Jackson Health System and Baptist Health of South Florida.

The appointments would be available on a first-come, first-served basis for FIU faculty and staff 65 and older that were interested in getting the vaccine.

The email was first obtained by PantherNOW, the university’s student-run media outlet, and was later obtained by the Miami Herald.

The university also invited faculty and staff younger than 65 to fill out the survey. While they would not be able to get the vaccine in Florida yet, it would “provide important information regarding community interest in being vaccinated should FIU become a vaccine provider in the future,” the email reads.

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, FIU has helped staff the COVID-19 testing site located on the county’s fairgrounds in Tamiami Park, next to the university’s main campus off Southwest Eighth Street.

In November, the university launched a walk-up testing site for students, faculty and staff on the Modesto Maidique campus. The school has also been offering COVID-19 tests to members of its university community through its Student Health Clinic and at FIU Health.

Last month, the University of Central Florida announced it was under consideration to be a mass vaccination site in the spring.

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High demand, limited vaccines in Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade seniors interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine have had to look to neighboring Broward County, which opened its first drive-thru vaccination sites this week, or to hospitals like Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, which began taking appointments by phone since late last month.

On Tuesday, Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade County’s public hospital network, began taking vaccination appointments for people 65 and older through a new online portal. Slots ran out within two hours. More appointments are expected in the coming days.

Marlins Park in Miami is also in the process of being repurposed into a vaccination center, similar to the way it was converted into a testing site, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will also be converted into a vaccination site, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirmed Tuesday evening.

Miami-Dade County’s housing agency has also begun administering doses to homebound residents 65 and over.

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