What to Know
- Local health experts say that vaccine distribution could be affected by tourists coming to South Florida to receive a dose
- A Miami-Dade County spokesperson said they cannot turn people away based on residency
- Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said she is considering ways to prioritize Miami-Dade residents' receiving the vaccine
In a video shared on Instagram, Argentinian television personality Yanina Latorre captured the moment her mother received the COVID-19 vaccine while visiting Miami.
She shared some tips afterward during an interview on a TV station in Argentina, saying, in part, “They don’t ask for anything…You don’t need to have an American ID.”
Our team spoke with Latorre the day her mother got vaccinated, but she has not responded to our calls since then.
Some state leaders have said that while they don’t have an issue with seasonal residents getting vaccinated here, they are concerned about tourists doing the same while visiting Florida.
“It becomes a logistical nightmare because if you budget a certain number of vaccines for a certain size population, and that population is artificially inflated by people who are not members of the population. Then, you are going to have a lot of problems with distribution,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an epidemiologist at Florida International University.
Dr. Marty said that Miami-Dade doctors and leaders met this week to find ways to prevent the practice, like adding questions about residency on the application.
“Other places have been collecting just enough information, so we know it’s someone who lives among us and not someone who’s traveled here to get a vaccine,” she said.
In a statement, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told NBC 6 Investigators, “My priority is our local residents, and we are working to make sure we get shots into the arms of people who live in Miami-Dade as fast as possible.”
But her office tells us the county "can't turn anyone away based on residence" because the current state policy allows people 65 and older to get vaccinated, regardless of where they live.
Meanwhile, local seniors like Antonio DiMenna are anxiously waiting their turn at local sites.
“They have to cover the Florida residents first,” he told us at a site in Opa-locka. “I have been trying to get an appointment online and it seems impossible, so I have taken the chance to come here today and hopefully there is something left over at the end of the day.”
The Florida Department of Health did not specifically respond to our questions about tourists getting vaccinated first. They only sent us what’s already on their website.
We also reached out to Broward County Mayor Steve Geller and are still waiting to hear back.