coronavirus pandemic

Florida Vaccine Updates: Walgreens Program Expands, New FEMA Sites Open in Miami-Dade

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it

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As a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine has become available across Florida, residents are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to stand in line for a dose.

Two new sites opened Thursday to take the place of other FEMA sites in Miami-Dade County while residents across the state could be just weeks away from being able to get doses no matter their age.

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it.

Florida Expanding Walgreens Vaccine Program

Florida is expanding its Walgreens vaccination program to nearly 100 pharmacies, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

The state is expanding the program from 12 Walgreens pharmacies to 97, the governor said at a news conference in Jacksonville.

Appointments were opening up on Thursday and shots would start going in arms on Friday, DeSantis said.

Miami-Dade FEMA Vaccination Sites Relocate Starting Thursday

For a limited time, two “hub” vaccination sites in Miami-Dade County will be relocated.

From Thursday, March 11th to Wednesday, March 17th, the two sites in Florida City and Sweetwater will relocate to the following locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Allen Park Community Center at 1770 Northeast 162nd Street in North Miami Beach.
  • Miami Springs Community Center at 1401 Westward Drive in Miami Springs.

At this time, the Florida Department of Health has not announced if the locations will be relocated back to their original sites.

Florida Will Soon Lower COVID Vaccine Age Eligibility to 55

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that after the state makes people 60 and older eligible for the COVID vaccine on Monday, it will soon lower the age to 55 and then probably open it up to the rest of the population.

The governor said at a news conference in Sumterville that the process of vaccinating those between 60 and 64 may go quicker than expected because of the increase in the weekly supply the state is receiving. He said that each 5-year age group adds nearly 2 million people in population eligible for the vaccine.

DeSantis has faced criticism because some vaccine sites have seen low demand that has prompted administrators to offer the shot to any takers, breaking at random times from the eligibility requirements and then going back to tighter restrictions when demand surges.

Vaccination Site in Miami-Dade Enforcing State Criteria After Long Lines, Confusion

Long lines of cars and pedestrians were once again stretching out of a COVID-19 vaccination site in Miami-Dade Wednesday morning after confusion over who was eligible to receive shots.

The federally supported site at Miami-Dade College's North Campus has been busy after it appeared to be offering shots to anyone who showed up Tuesday, breaking from the eligibility requirements set by Gov. Ron DeSantis that was intended to be put seniors at the head of the line.

But at the site on Wednesday, state eligibility criteria were being enforced, staff members said.

Fear of Needles May Be Stopping Some People From Getting Vaccinated

With the vaccine rollout, there's been footage of the gentle jab on TV, but just the sight of a needle can make some people queasy or squeamish. 

The fear of needles affects more people than you might think. According to an analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan, 20-30% of adults studied reported having a fear of needles. 

To hear how some people are working to overcome their fears, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Amanda Plasencia.

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