MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at Hard Rock Stadium Wednesday afternoon, at which time he announced that a “soft opening” has begun to partially covert the testing site into a vaccination site.
DeSantis said two drive-through lanes are currently being used to provide COVID-19 vaccines to those 65 and older, and that will soon expand.
The location, which is the first state-supported vaccination and testing site, will fully open for vaccinations on Friday and an announcement on how to register to make an appointment will be made ahead of that date. Appointments will be available to seniors and frontline healthcare workers.
According to the governor, once the vaccination drive-through is fully open, they will be administering a minimum of 1,000 Moderna vaccines a day there.
“It is truly all hands on deck to get these shots in people’s arms as fast as possible,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
The Hard Rock Stadium testing site is one of the largest testing sites in the state and has been looked at as an ideal location for vaccine distribution.
DeSantis said COVID-19 tests will still be available at the location, but urged seniors who are not showing symptoms of the virus to get the vaccine instead of a diagnostic test.
DeSantis said they are also speaking with officials from the county and Jackson Health to possibly open a vaccination site at Marlins Park.
The state has also partnered with Publix to administer vaccines to seniors and is currently offering appointments at select Publix Supermarkets in Marion, Hernando and Citrus counties.
He said the state will see how that partnership goes and will possibly expand it to other parts of Florida.
As of Tuesday, more than 33,000 people had been vaccinated in Miami-Dade County, nearly 26,000 in Broward and about 500 in Monroe County.
Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale is scheduled to open Thursday for seniors with appointments, and the Florida Department of Health in Broward County already has three other locations open.
During a news conference earlier in the day, the governor was asked about the problems so far with the vaccine rollout. The governor said demand is much higher than supply right now, but said people have to be patient and that more vaccine is coming every day for Florida’s seniors.
“I was talking with the White House this morning, saying, ‘Look, we’re getting to the point where we’ve got a lot of things in place. We’re in the community, there’s high demand – you see the number of people lined up – you know, the shots are really going to continue to increase, and so the question is we want to make sure that if we have other avenues, that we have vaccines that can go to those,’” he said.