Jackson to give COVID vaccines to patients under 65 with underlying medical conditions

Samantha J. Gross
·2 min read

Patients under 65 with certain health conditions could soon receive COVID-19 vaccines through Jackson Health System.

Jackson patients 55 years or older who live in Miami-Dade County, have seen a Jackson physician in the last year and have at least one of seven specific medical conditions will be able to secure appointments by invitation only, Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya announced Tuesday at the county’s Public Health Trust board meeting. Vaccinations begin Wednesday.

Migoya said Jackson hopes to soon expand this group to people outside Miami-Dade County or under 55, but that the hospital system must take into account the limited supply of vaccine.

He said more than 10,000 Jackson patients fall into the category of having at least one of the seven conditions Jackson doctors identified for this new vaccine rollout, which is why there are age and residential requirements for getting the shots.

“In the context of a complicated and intricate vaccine program, this expansion increases the level of difficulty [for Jackson],” Migoya said. “That’s why we are starting with extremely narrow criteria.”

The patients who were invited were identified using Jackson’s electronic health records and have at least one of the following conditions:

Renal failure with dialysis

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Coronary artery disease with bypass

Cardiomyopathy

Congestive heart failure

Sickle cell disease

Solid organ transplant

Those who are eligible will receive the shot at one of Jackson’s three sites: the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center in Miami, the North Dade Health Center in Miami Gardens and the Jackson South Medical Center in Kendall.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ December executive order on who can obtain vaccines included people who are under 65 years old but have health conditions that make them considerably more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its effects. Under the executive order, people in that category must get their vaccines through a hospital program.

But Baptist Health — the only hospital system that had been taking appointments for people under 65 with those underlying conditions — canceled all first dose appointments last week, citing a lack of supply.

Other South Florida sites, including the ones supported by Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade County or the state, were only serving healthcare workers or those 65 and older.

The announcement of Jackson’s decision to expand its vaccine program came after a Miami Herald story highlighting the inability of people with underlying conditions, such as Down syndrome and cancer, to get COVID vaccines.