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Miami-Dade sets ambitious goals for coronavirus vaccine rollout

Jackson CEO says 1 million residents could receive shots by end of April

MIAMI – Local leaders and healthcare executives announced plans Tuesday to ramp up distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout Miami-Dade County.

In a virtual news conference, they aspired to reach 65,000-75,000 shots administered a week, with the goal of identifying large sites such as Hard Rock Stadium that can be used as vaccine locations as well as hospital sites and clinics. The hope is to get the majority of the county’s seniors their first shot by early February.

“If we keep going at that 300,000 thousand a month rate, by March or April we could vaccinate 1 million people in Miami-Dade county by the end of April,” said Carlos Migoya, CEO of the Jackson Health System.

More than 30,000 people in Miami-Dade have received their first shot already. The vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna require a second shot a few weeks after the first.

Jackson began taking appointments for vaccines online Tuesday morning, but 12,000 slots were quickly spoken for and many residents were shut out.

“We have heard loudly and clearly from our seniors that you are ready for the vaccine. That is the very good news,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “The demand is much greater than the supply currently available.”

Leon Medical Center was giving its patients access to COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday. The clinic received nearly 10,000 with a goal of 200 a day per center for those 65 and older, as well as their front-line workers.

“The quicker we’re able to innoculate all the patients, the quicker we are to receive more vaccine,” said Rafael Mas, Leon’s Chief Medical Officer.

Juan Hernández, who got the vaccine Tuesday, said “this is probably one of the happiest days of my life.”

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