TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida adults won’t be waiting too much longer for their shot at a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that all Floridians 40 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine next Monday, March 29, and everyone ages 18 and older will be eligible on the following Monday, April 5.
People looking to receive the vaccine are still encouraged to pre-register through the state’s website: myvaccine.fl.gov. (To register for vaccines sites run by Miami-Dade County, go to miamidade.gov/vaccine.)
Once pre-registered, people will be contacted when the vaccine is available in their area.
Floridians can also call the vaccine preregistration phone number for their county. Click here to find the number for your area.
In a video announcement, DeSantis confirmed that more than 3.2 million seniors have received the vaccine so far in Florida.
“We’ve now vaccinated over 70% of the roughly 4.4 million seniors living in the state,” he said. “We’ve also made great progress on those age 60 to 64 and on those age 50 and older, and we’re ready to take this step.”
I’m pleased to announce that beginning this Monday, March 29, all Floridians age 40 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning the following Monday, April 5, all Floridians age 18 and older will be eligible. pic.twitter.com/gJ0HHmiINW— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 25, 2021
In addition to state and local distribution sites, “vaccines are also available at 150 CVS locations, 125 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, more than 70 Winn Dixie locations, soon-to-be over 600 Walgreens pharmacies, and every single one of the 730 Publix pharmacies across the state,” a news release from the governor’s office stated.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava commended the governor for lowering the age requirement ahead of the May 1 deadline given by the Biden administration.
“I commend the Governor for following the lead of communities like Miami-Dade that moved forward with a robust timeline to expand vaccination eligibility, given the increased supply provided by the federal sites,” the mayor said in a statement. “Miami-Dade has now vaccinated 70% percent of seniors 65+ with over 650,000 of our residents having received at least a first dose. We are now ramping up a more aggressive community-wide public engagement campaign in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole to ensure that with expanded eligibility to all adults on April 5, every resident knows they can get a shot. And starting this Monday, all residents 40+ can get a vaccine at any vaccination site in Miami-Dade.
“This is our clearest path to return to normal and put this pandemic behind us, and I will be working with our community to ensure all our residents get vaccinated. Get your shot, Miami-Dade.”
Demand for the vaccine across South Florida remains high.
On Wednesday, the FEMA-funded site at Miami Dade College’s North Campus ran out of all 500 doses allocated for first-time recipients.
“We had a lady who actually showed up here. She had brought her mother and she was crying because she could not get her mother vaccinated. It’s heartbreaking,” site lead Bruce Roberts said.
But about two hours after they ran out, an extra shipment of vaccines arrived to save the day.
“So we’ll collaborate with the health department and we’ll say, ‘Hey, let us know if we have extra at the CVS or a Publix or somewhere that has not met that mark,’ and so we were like, ‘We can do it and we can receive those and we can actually get ‘em out,’ and actually that’s what happened,” Roberts said.
In the end, staff ended up administering 2,000 first doses. That’s four times the initial supply.
But while staff members were waiting for that extra shipment, they turned away 50 to 100 people who showed up for their first dose.
One man, identified only as Victor, was told to try again Thursday morning, so he came back at 6:30 a.m. to secure his spot and this time he succeeded.
“It was good,” he said. “We had the opportunity to get it today.”
The site lead said he’s unsure whether they might get an extra shipment Thursday, so for now, just 500 first doses will be available through April 7.
There are plenty of second doses to go around.