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Vaccine Updates: What We Know About the Coronavirus in Florida Today

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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.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been received by the state, and so far, healthcare workers and senior residents are the only ones who qualify to receive them. But even in this initial stage, it hasn't been smooth sailing.

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

Miami-Dade Works to Administer Covid Vaccinations to Seniors

Leaders in Miami-Dade County said they're working to quickly but safely administer COVID-19 vaccines to anyone over 65 who wants one.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniela Levine Cava held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the county's vaccination plan, and was joined by the mayors of the City of Miami and Miami Beach as well as local hospital executives.


Leon Medical Centers Move Quickly to Administer Vaccines

When more than 9,000 doses arrived Monday night, the Medicaid Advantage system quickly moved to begin vaccinations by Tuesday morning.

NBC 6 spoke with Juan Hernandez, a 68-year-old patient with diabetes, who is among Leon's more than 43,000 clients. He was able to get the vaccine Tuesday.

"This is probably one of the happiest days of my life," he said.


Publix to Provide COVID-19 Vaccines at Select Stores in Florida

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available at select Publix pharmacies in Citrus, Hernando and Marion counties starting this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday.


Marlins Park to Become COVID-19 Vaccination Site

As more COVID-19 vaccination sites open in South Florida, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced Tuesday that Marlins Park is in the process of being repurposed into a vaccination center.


First Appointments for Covid Vaccination at Jackson Health Quickly Fill

The first round of appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Miami's Jackson Health System have been filled, a hospital spokesperson said Tuesday.

More than 80,000 people logged on for the 12,000 appointments, which were filled less than two hours after Jackson launched their website to make an appointment. Officials said they were hoping to make an additional 2,000 appointments available soon.


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Gets Covid Vaccine in Miami

Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush received the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bush, 67, tweeted Tuesday a photo of him receiving the vaccine shot at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.


More Covid Vaccination Sites Opening in Broward This Week

More COVID-19 vaccination sites will be opening in Broward this week, the county's mayor said Tuesday.

Mayor Steve Geller held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the county's vaccination plans, which includes distrtibution sites at Broward parks.

Vaccinations are being distributed to seniors at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek and Vista View Park in Davie, with another site opening at Markham Park in Sunrise Tuesday, Geller said.

Another vaccination site will open at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, and at Central Park in Lauderhill on Friday, with another 3-5 sites possibly opening in the next two weeks or so, Geller said.


Leon Medical Centers to Begin Vaccinating Patients

The centers in Miami will begin to vaccinate both patients and front line staff workers starting Tuesday at their locations throughout Miami-Dade County.


Memorial Health Systems Extends Vaccinations to Seniors by Appointment Starting Tuesday

Memorial Healthcare System has become the latest in South Florida to provide appointments for seniors ages 65 and older to get the COVID vaccine.

In a statement, Memorial said they would begin allowing appointments to be made Tuesday for those residents to get the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine via the My Chart system or by calling 954-276-4340.

Walk-ins will not receive the vaccine and on-site registration is not available.


Florida Governor to Hospitals: Use the COVID Shots Or Lose Them

As seniors lined up at coronavirus vaccination sites and frustrations mounted over their inability to make appointments for life-saving injections, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned hospitals against stockpiling vaccinations and urged them to work more quickly to administer vaccines to Floridians who are 65 and older.

As of Monday, more than 260,000 Floridians had been vaccinated, most of them health care workers and first responders — although an increasing number are seniors 65 years and older, whom the governor has made a key demographic for vaccinations.

As of Monday, more than 260,000 Floridians had been vaccinated, most of them health care workers and first responders — although an increasing number are seniors 65 years and older, whom the governor has made a key demographic for vaccinations.


Jacksonville FAA Control Center Temporarily Closed After Employee Tested Positive for Virus, Prompting Delays at Local Airports

The Jacksonville FAA Control center was closed for cleaning and resumed operations at 6 p.m. local time Monday, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Miami International Airport and Palm Beach International reported delays.


Miami's Jackson Health System Launching Portal to Allow Public to Make Vaccination Appointments

At a press conference on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Miami's Jackson Health System will launch a website on Tuesday to allow people to make appointments for a coronavirus vaccine.

About 2,000 slots will be available per day, and seniors will be given priority.

DeSantis noted that 90% of Jackson's doctors have already received the vaccine.


Some State Coronavirus Testing Sites Could Soon Turn Into Vaccination Sites

At the Monday press conference, DeSantis also said that Florida could soon transition some state-run COVID-19 testing sites to drive-thru vaccination sites.

The state is working to find places of worship in underserved communities where the vaccine can be administered, DeSantis said, and officials have deployed an additional 1,000 nurses to help with vaccination efforts.

The governor noted that more than 500 seniors have received the vaccine already at one house of worship in Escambia County.

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As Experts Warned, States Seeing Worsened Outbreaks After Holiday Season, and Florida is No Exception

Florida added more than 11,000 new COVID-19 cases Monday, as virus-related deaths in the state continued to increase.

On the last day of 2020, Florida shattered its record for the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, adding 17,192 newly-confirmed cases.

Leading up to the holiday season, experts had warned that an increase in travel, along with celebrations and family gatherings, would worsen the nation's outbreak.

December turned out to be the U.S.'s deadliest and most infectious month since the start of the pandemic, with more than 77,000 deaths and 6.4 million cases, as well as the emergence of a new virus variant.

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Broward County Vaccination Portal Experiences Outages and a Flood of Bookings Since Launching

On Wednesday last week, Florida health officials launched a vaccination portal for Broward County residents ages 65+ to sign up for appointments to receive a dose.

The site has experienced various outages over the last several days, frustrating seniors who were trying to land a time slot. When the site has been online, appointments seem to book up very quickly.

As of noon on Monday, the site continued to display this message:

"The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has provided 26,465 COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals ages 65 and over. All appointments have been filled at this time. Please check back to this website often as more sites and appointments will be added over the coming days and weeks. Thank you."

After initial outages, the director of Florida's Department of Health in Broward Dr. Paula Thaqi apologized the system had not worked fluidly and asked residents for patience. "Please know that this is just the beginning of COVID-19 vaccination opportunities," she said.

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Florida's Department of Health Keeping Tally of How Many People Have Been Vaccinated in the State

Since the start of the pandemic, NBC 6 has been keeping up with the daily coronavirus reports released by the Florida Department of Health. It's hopeful to now also be able to track resident vaccinations as reported by the state.

As of Sunday, the state had confirmed that 255,808 people have received initial doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

The reports also keep track of how many people have been successfully immunized by completing their second dose, as well as which counties the vaccinated residents are in.

So far, it seems that Miami-Dade and Broward counties have the most vaccinated residents, according to the state. As of Sunday, nearly 29,160 residents have received their first doses in Dade, nearly 22,920 in Broward, more than 12,800 in Palm Beach and and more than 400 in Monroe.

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