Police were called to guard a Florida vaccination site after rumors it had spare doses got out of control

Kelly McLaughlin
·3 min read
COVID 19 vaccine
Dado Ruvic/Reuters
  • More than 200 people lined up outside a Florida COVID-19 vaccination center on Sunday.

  • The crowd came after the vaccine center gave about 50 doses to ineligible people on Saturday.

  • The vaccine center said it would now only give vaccines to people who were eligible.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A COVID-19 vaccination site in Florida descended into chaos on Sunday after word falsely spread that it was offering extra doses to any adult who asked for one.

The vaccination site in Florida City, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had given out extra doses to non-eligible people on Saturday, and the move led hundreds to show up on Sunday hoping for similar treatment, according to the Miami Herald.

As news started to spread about extra doses, State Sen. Annette Taddeo falsely tweeted that the vaccine site had "no restrictions," but she later fact-checked and deleted her tweet.

In total, more than 200 people lined up for the extra vaccines on Sunday, many of whom did not meet state-ordered vaccine eligibility, which includes people older than 65, long-term healthcare facility residents, and some front-line workers.

Ultimately, the site's organizers had to call police to control the crowds.

"If you do not meet the criteria, you will not be vaccinated today," one police officer told the crowd, according to the Herald.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

The center usually provides about 500 doses a day but ended up giving out just 321 doses on Sunday.

FEMA spokesperson Marty Bahamonde told the Miami Herald that said that confusion over extra vaccines started on Saturday, when individuals who said they were healthcare workers came in for vaccine doses but could not provide identification.

Bahamonde said FEMA sites usually don't have unused vaccine doses left over at the end of the day and if there are leftovers, they go to preregistered patients.

He told CNN about 50 non-eligible people got their vaccines on Saturday and said those people spread the word to others.

"Those people then went out and told their friends, 'Hey, I went in and just said this and got a free vaccine.' And more and more people started to come in and then the word got out that people were getting vaccine who didn't meet the governor's criteria," he said.

FEMA later met with staffers at the site and told them to make sure people were eligible.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

"If they come into the center and don't have the validation, we ask them to come back," Bahamonde told CNN. "Go home and get the validation and come back, so that we can verify that they are who they say they are."

Florida residents, however, told The Herald that the eligibility rules were confusing.

Julio Ligorria, a public relations employee who has an underlying condition that makes him eligible for the vaccine, said his condition requires a doctor's note, but he hasn't been able to get one because he doesn't have a primary care doctor.

When he heard of the Florida City vaccine site on Sunday, he decided to see if he could get a vaccine without a doctor's note.

"We were going to wait it out, but I started seeing ... there was going to be no leeway," said Ligorria told The Herald, adding that he didn't get his shot. "It sounded like whoever was calling the shots there was going to make an example of that site and they were not going to budge."

Read the original article on Insider