The distribution of the coronavirus vaccine is offering a glimmer of hope to those who are eager to return to pre-pandemic normalcy in 2021.
In Florida, the vaccine has begun to be administrated to frontline healthcare workers and the state's most elderly residents.
Here's everything we know about how the vaccine is being handed out across the state, and who will be eligible to receive one as more shipments arrive.
While the state determines who gets vaccines, counties are in charge of distribution
At a press conference at the end of December, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that while state officials would be in charge of determining which facilities and hospitals received shipments of the vaccine, individual counties would be in charge of distribution.
That means that the process of administering the vaccine will depend on county guidelines: while some counties will offer the doses at specific locations, others will deploy teams to facilities to give out the vaccine, like Palm Beach County has done with its senior communities.
DeSantis added that he expects most counties to get more of the recently approved Moderna vaccine in early January.
Elderly residents and frontline healthcare workers will be first in line to receive vaccine shipments
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents be offered COVID-19 vaccinations first.
Then, non-healthcare frontline essential workers and people ages 75 and older should be prioritized, followed by those ages 65-74 and anyone with high-risk medical conditions.
Since then, Gov. DeSantis has emphasized that vaccinating seniors is priority.
How do I get vaccinated in Miami-Dade County?
Miami-Dade County has set up a county vaccine page with updated information about who is eligible and where to find vaccinations, and has launched a new online tool for making appointments to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
Appointments are limited and only available to seniors 65 and older. Within moments of launching, appointment slots filled up, but the county stressed that more appointments would become available once more supply of the vaccine arrives.
The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County is releasing a limited number of COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The reservations, for seniors ages 65 and older by appointment only, will be made available through the county's scheduling tool at miamidade.gov/vaccine, miamidade.gov/vacuna and miamidade.gov/vaksen.
A vaccination site at Tropical Park (7900 SW 40th St, Miami, FL 33155) was announced by Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava.
Residents can also schedule an appointment to receive the coronavirus vaccine at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
To try to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-499-0840. Only frontline healthcare workers and residents ages 65 and over currently qualify, and walk-ins will not be accepted.
Baptist Health South Florida announced it will be launching an online platform for eligible members of the community to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Jackson Health System has so far distributed the vaccine to more than 10,000 patients ages 65 and older receiving care at their facilities who are at special risk of contracting the virus. Next week, the hospital is expected to launch an online platform for Miami-Dade residents ages 65 and older to request appointments.
In early January, both Pfizer and Moderna doses became available for Miami-Dade residents ages 75 and older at Mount Sinai Medical Center. To make an appointment, call (305) 674-2312 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week, or between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the weekends. No walk-ins are accepted, and patients must bring a government-issued ID to the appointment.
How do I get vaccinated in Broward County?
In Broward County, county officials set up an online portal for residents ages 65 and older to start scheduling appointments to receive the vaccine, but all slots were quickly booked out through February, and the website began experiencing intermittent outages.
Drive-thru sites are open by appointment only at Tradewinds Park (3600 West Sample Road, Coconut Creek); Vista View Park (Southwest 142nd Avenue, Davie) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays; Markham Park (160001 West State Road 84, Sunrise); Holiday Park, (1150 G. Harold Martin Drive, Fort Lauderdale); and Central Regional Park in Lauderhill (3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill).
Additionally, Broward Health is partnering with the team and the City of Fort Lauderdale to begin vaccinations at Inter Miami CF Stadium at Lockhart Park.
Patients must pre-register at BrowardHealth.org to be eligible for vaccination and be age 65 and over; office staff of Broward Health's credentialed physicians; EMS; or non-credentialed community healthcare providers who do not have access to the vaccine, as well as their office staff.
Cleveland Clinic also announced the facility would be offering vaccines to members of the public who meet certain criteria, including being ages 65 or older, as well as first responders and those with high risk medical conditions. Two worship centers in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale will also be providing vaccines.
Memorial Healthcare System is providing appointments for seniors ages 65 and older to get the COVID vaccine.
In a statement, Memorial said they would begin allowing appointments to get the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine via the My Chart system or by calling 954-276-4340.
To inquire about booking an appointment:
- Mount Sinai Medical Center: call (305) 674-2312 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week, or between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the weekends. No walk-ins are accepted, and patients must bring a government-issued ID to the appointment.
- Cleveland Clinic: call (954) 659-5950 for more information on how to schedule an appointment.
- Broward Health Medical Center: appointments are currently booked through February. Check back to Broward County's online vaccine portal next month for more openings, or call Broward Health's Nurse Connect line at (954) 759-7500 for more information.
- The Florida Department of Health has a dedicated 24/7 Call Center available for questions regarding COVID-19. The number to call is 1 (866) 779-6121 or via email at COVID19@flhealth.gov.