South Florida colleges and universities want COVID vaccines. Here’s what they’re doing

Michelle Marchante, Carli Teproff
·4 min read

Colleges and universities in South Florida are among those who are pining for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some schools like Broward College have applied to be a vaccination site. Others like Miami Dade College and Florida International University are working to secure appointments for their faculty and staff.

At the University of Miami, the vaccine is being given to healthcare workers through the University of Miami Health System and will eventually be available to all employees. And at Barry University, officials have already secured an ultra-cold freezer to store the vaccine, while it awaits approval.

Here are what your South Florida colleges and universities are doing:

UM, MDC, FIU, and other South Florida schools: Any COVID-19 vaccine plans?

University of Miami (UM) — The University of Miami Health System is giving the vaccine to front-line healthcare workers and support staff, including trainees, who care for or work in close proximity to COVID-19 patients. It is also giving vaccinations to UHealth patients 65 and older by appointment only.

The university’s distribution plan includes making vaccines available to all employees, starting with those who have medical conditions that make them more at risk of falling seriously ill with the disease. UM employees interested in the vaccine have been asked to notify the school through an online portal. The school has also told employees that the vaccination distribution could take several months or longer because of vaccine availability and state guidelines.

UM is also planning to host a virtual town hall Monday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the vaccine.

Florida International University (FIU) — The university has applied to be a vaccination site with the Florida Department of Health. If it gets approved, and depending on how many vaccines it receives, the school could eventually provide doses to students, faculty, staff and their immediate family members.

FIU has already received a limited number of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines from Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Health, which it has been using to vaccinate its healthcare workers and employees 65 and older. It also secured a limited amount of appointments for FIU employees through local health providers, including Jackson Health System and Baptist Health of South Florida.

Miami Dade College (MDC) — The school has secured appointments for its employees 65 and older through Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade County’s public hospital network. It’s also in talks with Miami-Dade County, Baptist Health of South Florida and its Miami Cancer Institute on several potential partnerships.

Potential partnerships being discussed include turning MDC locations into vaccination sites and staffing them with qualified MDC students and faculty from its medical assistant, physician assistant and nursing programs to help administer the vaccine. In exchange, it wants vaccines for its employees and students.

Florida Memorial University (FMU) — School officials are meeting to discuss potential vaccination plans.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) — As of Thursday, the school did not have vaccine plans.

Barry University — The school has applied to be a vaccination site for students, employees and potentially the rest of the community. It has also purchased an ultra-cold freezer, in case the state decides to give it the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be kept in temperatures colder than winter in Antarctica.

St. Thomas University — The university said it has not applied to be a vaccination site and is not working with any hospitals or agencies though this may change in the future. At the moment, it’s focusing on addressing other COVID-19 related issues in the areas of healthcare, law and business through its Center for Pandemic, Disaster and Quarantine Research.

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) — The school is having discussions with some of its healthcare partners to see if the university can assist in the vaccine’s distribution, both within the university and in South Florida.

Broward College — The college has submitted a request to the Broward County Emergency Operations Center and the Department of Health to become a Vaccination Point of Dispensing (POD) site. If approved, the vaccines would be available to the community. All three campuses — the North Campus (Coconut Creek), South Campus (Pembroke Pines), and Central Campus (Davie) — are being considered.