UPDATE, Tuesday, Dec. 29: Holy Cross Hospital officials have released an updated statement, saying, "we do not have a confirmed vaccination start date for the community-at-large." They added the plan is to administer the second dose to health care workers and then begin to inoculate the senior population.
Waiting a few hours outside the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale is a small inconvenience for hundreds of health care workers who have waited months for this day to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dentist Lisa Widlansky couldn’t hold back her enthusiasm.
“Super excited, I’ve never been more excited for anything in 2020. My family lives out of town so I’m excited to be able to hug and see them again,” Widlansky said.
Next in line for the vaccine are the elderly. The guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for those 65 and older to be inoculated. For those on the more senior end of that group, the opportunity to get the injection may come in a matter of days.
“In the next few days, we’ll be moving to 75 years and older patients," said Holy Cross Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eduardo Locatelli. "We cannot have them out in the parking lot, they need to have an appointment and be served quickly and have proper vaccination with all the documentation that is required."
People are coming from as far away as Tampa to get the vaccine at Holy Cross, although the majority are from Broward County.
Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami continues to focus on vaccinating hospital staff. In the coming days, about 1,000 will be set aside “... to begin inoculating some members of the public who fit within the state and federal criteria. We have been proactively reaching out to a wide range of people who receive care at Jackson... (or) ongoing treatment in our primary-care clinics.”
Holy Cross is the only hospital vaccinating people who don’t work there. To be eligible you do need to make an appointment and prove you are a health care worker, such as a dentist, physician, therapist or social worker.
The opportunity means the world to those who want to help protect their patients and their families.
“I don’t think I will change the safety precautions I am doing now, keeping my distance, wearing a mask, but it’s peace of mind, I’ll be more relaxed and at peace doing my job,” aid Chloe Markowicz, a psychotherapist in Miami Beach.
In all 600 people received the vaccine at Holy Cross Monday. According to Dr. Locatelli, the hospital received a shipment of the Moderna vaccine Monday that will allow them to keep up with administering 600 doses per day for the rest of the week.