Get vaccinated in your bathing suit? At a Heat playoff game? Florida’s not missing a shot

·5 min read

In the race to vaccinate as many Americans as possible, it has come to this: You can now get a COVID-19 shot while wearing your Speedo.

The vax packs aren’t missing the opportunity to entice the throngs, some of whom may even be in thongs, who will gather for Memorial Day events this weekend.

Hollywood Beach, for instance, opened a COVID-19 walk-up vaccination site at Charnow Park on the Broadwalk, just steps away from sand and surf at 300 Connecticut St.

Hollywood is offering the two-dose-necessary Pfizer vaccine to those 12 and older from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, May 28-30. They return June 18-20.

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The Great American Beach Party shindig in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Oceanside Park partnered with Walmart pharmacists to administer COVID vaccines at the party’s pop-up site from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29.

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And these unusual vaccination sites for the novel coronavirus are not just pegged to Memorial Day. The days of January 2021 and the frustrating online booking arrangements at hospitals or pharmacies, the long lines at mass vaccination sites ... well, they seem a lifetime ago.

Now, the vaccinators are practically begging you to get that shot where you live, work, play, eat, watch a basketball game or catch a performance — like the Beach Party’s headline act, ‘90s county band Lonestar.

Travelers get a shot

Miami International Airport has been targeting the county’s hospitality and tourism sectors by offering Pfizer vaccines. This is a part of the travel industry’s ongoing effort to make access easier to airport employees, taxi and rideshare drivers, their family and friends, and travelers who live or work in Florida.

There are two locations at MIA to get dosed — Concourse D in the Fourth Floor Auditorium and a drive-thru in MIA’s taxi overflow lot on 75 Bus Road.

The next batch of dates are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 1-4 and June 7. The drive-thru is just June 1-3.

PortMiami also got into the vaccine business in early May when it started offering Pfizer and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Terminal J. The port, via Miami-Dade County, plans to continue doing so through June 20.

A nurse administers the Pfizer vaccine at the Florida Division of Emergency Management COVID-19 vaccination site at Terminal J at PortMiami on May 12, 2021.
A nurse administers the Pfizer vaccine at the Florida Division of Emergency Management COVID-19 vaccination site at Terminal J at PortMiami on May 12, 2021.

Miami-Dade County partners with hotels to inoculate workers, boost access to vaccines

State-run vaccine sites are shutting down in June, but Miami-Dade may keep some open

Miami Beach had opened a Johnson & Johnson pop-up on the sands at 14th Street for those attending the recent South Beach Food & Wine Festival earlier this month. Talk about a Burger Bash with special sauce.

And Wynwood’s Gramps restaurant offered a free pizza slice and cocktail to the newly inoculated at a promotional Pfizer vaccination event with Miami-Dade County earlier this month.

The offer repeats 8 a.m-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30. You can get your second shot there but if you’re receiving Pfizer at Gramps for this first time this weekend you’ll have to go elsewhere for the second dose in three weeks.

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The Heat is on the vaccine game

Walmart also teamed with the Miami Heat to give 400 basketball fans Pfizer shots in the arms at AmericanAirlines Arena on April 29 and second doses on May 20. And the Heat plans to offer the two-dose Moderna vaccine at the arena Saturday, May 29, at its do-or-die playoff game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

In Florida, where more than 8.2 million are currently considered fully vaccinated — or about 38% of the population — according to the state’s health department, the new state motto could be: “The Sunshine State: We are desperate to get you a shot!”

Why?

Well, at the current pace, Florida is beaten by 27 other states in the Biden administration’s goal to get at least 70% of Americans protected with at least one shot by the Fourth of July holiday.

The Heat’s doing its part but will need to make a lot of playoff games to hit that mark.

Mike Jachles, the chairman of the Florida Association of Public Information Officers, told the Miami Herald that the state’s strategy now involves “bringing vaccines to where the people are,” like at the Great American Beach Party.

Of course, that raises the question: Where do you go to get that second dose if the offbeat site is for a one-time event and they don’t give the J&J?

The city of Hollywood said its recipients would be told where to go in three weeks when they get their first dose this Memorial Day weekend. Heat fans, presumably, will also find out where they have to go in one month to complete the Moderna cycle.

Given the number of ongoing vaccine locations, like pharmacies and supermarkets, it’s most likely you just go to one of them on the proper date marked on the vaccination card you will receive. But do note: The second dose has to match the same brand you got for the first. You can’t get “Pfizered” on the Hollywood Broadwalk and then “Modernaized” at Publix.

Miami Herald staff writer Michelle Marchante contributed to this report.

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