coronavirus pandemic

Florida Vaccine Updates: Long Lines in Miami-Dade, Publix Expands Eligibility for School Workers

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.

Some teenage patients at one of the largest children's hospitals in South Florida will get a chance to get their doses while one of the largest FEMA sites experienced some major confusion when it came to who is eligible.

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

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, Florida 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.

“It’s all dependent on how we are doing with getting the 60 to 64 (age group). But that will happen relatively soon," DeSantis said. “As we know, a 60-year-old is less at risk than an 80-year-old, but a 60-year-old is more at risk than a 20-year-old. So I think it is important that we are able to get the 60 to 64."

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

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.

Shots were being given to people 65 and older, long-term care facility residents and staff, healthcare workers with direct patient contact, K-12 school employees 18 and older, and law enforcement and firefighters 50 and older.

Long Lines, Traffic Congestion at Miami-Dade College's Vaccine Site

Chopper 6 was over the scene at the school's North Campus showing the long line of cars before the site opened at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Many who were not eligible under current state guidelines were able to receive their COVID-19 shot Tuesday at a FEMA vaccination site on Miami-Dade College's North Campus. Exactly whose decision it was to ignore the state’s criteria is unclear. FEMA was adamant it was not up to them, and the state said the governor’s guidelines should be followed.

Publix Starts Prioritization of All School, Child Care Personnel for Vaccines Wednesday

At the direction of the federal government, any retailers participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program are required to prioritize all K-12, child care teachers and personnel for vaccine appointments until further notice.

Among those elegible are:

  • Teachers, school staff and child care workers who work in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs. This includes teachers, staff and bus drivers.
  • Those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.

Publix is set to follow this new directive during its next available COVID‑19 vaccine scheduling opportunity on Wednesday, March 10th.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital to Vaccinate Qualifying Patients Ages 16-17

Memorial Healthcare System announced Tuesday that it is expanding COVID-19 vaccinations to include current Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital patients who are 16 or 17 years old with certain high-risk medical conditions.

Eligible patients must be permanent or seasonal Florida residents and must have completed a Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital physician office in-person or telehealth visit, or must have visited a JDCH or Memorial Healthcare System Emergency Department,  24/7 Clinic, urgent care centers or hospitals within the last 12 months for one of the qualifying high-risk medical conditions.

For more information on vaccinations at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: click here.

Florida Expanding CVS Covid Vaccinations to Over 150 Pharmacies: DeSantis

Florida is expanding its COVID-19 vaccinations at CVS pharmacies to more than 150 locations, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

DeSantis made the announcement during a news conference at a CVS in Lehigh Acres, near Fort Myers. The expansion includes 76 new pharmacies statewide, for a total of 157, DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the decision to expand CVS vaccinations was made in part due to the success of the program in South Florida, through Navarro Discount Pharmacy and CVS y Mas locations.

Two Miami-Dade FEMA Vaccination Sites to Relocate While Homestead Opens New Site

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

Both satellite locations will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Wednesday, March 10th. They are located at:

  • Ronselli Park Youth Center at 250 SW 114th Ave. in Sweetwater.
  • Florida City Youth Activity Center at 650 NW 5th Ave. in Florida City.

However, from Thursday, March 11th to Wednesday, March 17th, the two sites will close and relocate to the following locations:

  • 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.

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