What to Know
- Hard Rock Stadium is converting its state-run COVID-19 testing operation into a vaccination site
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said they hope to vaccinate a minimum of 1,000 people per day
- The site is one of three in Miami-Dade that could soon be drive-through vaccination centers run by the state
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is converting its state-run COVID-19 testing operation into a vaccination site.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference at the home of the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, where he announced that it will be the first drive-through testing site in the state to be converted.
"This is yet another tool to be able to deliver a vaccine," DeSantis said.
Some fortunate first responders, seniors and retired firefighters were invited to a “soft opening” Wednesday, before DeSantis said the operation will open fully on Friday. Two car lanes were initially set up for vaccinations.
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The vaccinations will initially be available to seniors 65 and older and healthcare workers. The goal will be to provide a minimum of 1,000 vaccinations per day, DeSantis said.
DeSantis said earlier this week that multiple state-run testing sites could soon be converted to vaccination sites, including Marlins Park and another site in Miami-Dade, with the assistance of Jackson Health System.
Jakcson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya said Tuesday that it's possible 10,000 vaccine doses could be administered at the sites per week if supply allows.
But of the more than 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed to Florida, only about a third at best have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DeSantis is hoping the drive-thru outside the stadium, as well as two more — planned for Marlins Park and Tropicana Park — will help put a big dent in the stockpile and justify his asking the federal government for more.
“Those are places we’re going to do a thousand, two thousand shots a day, as long as we have enough vaccine,” he said. “Now that supply is starting to be used in the community, we are going to come to a point where we’re going to ask for more vaccine on a weekly basis because you have ways to get it out. People want it. It’s in high demand.”
The site will continue to offer testing, but it was unclear whether the vaccination operation would force a reduction in testing capacity.
About 83% of those who have died from the disease in Florida have been older than 65. Florida has one of the nation’s oldest populations.
On Tuesday, DeSantis said the supermarket chain Publix will start giving vaccinations to people 65 and over later this week in three central Florida counties.