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Long lines greet seniors with appointments to Florida’s first drive-thru vaccination location

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami-Dade County leaders are urging calm and patience as Florida picks up its pace in expanding vaccine access to seniors.

For senior citizens seeking doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Friday in Miami-Dade County was a new chapter in the rollout plan for those 65 years of age and older.

Sky 10 was overhead at the Hard Rock Stadium where, for the first time, seniors who secured an appointment for a shot were able to receive doses. There did have to wait in their cars in long lines.

A loud and clear message over blaring speakers made it clear that people arrived must have an appointment.

Hard Rock Stadium is the first state-run, drive-thru, appointment-only location to open in Florida.

“We had several hundreds of cars that had shown up with no appointments for vaccines. We don’t have the resources to accommodate them,” said Mike Jachles, chair of the Florida Association of Public Information Officers, who was at the Hard Rock site on Friday.

Baptist Hospital also began on Friday to expand access to its vaccine allocation to senior members of the community.

“We are working hard with the state, with our hospitals, our cities, and our private partners to get more vaccines out to the community as quickly as we receive them,” said Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor.

[RELATED: Where are coronavirus vaccines available in Miami-Dade County? | Where are the COVID-19 vaccination sites in Broward County?

But while there is a burst of new vaccine access in Miami-Dade, many people are still telling Local 10 that they are shut out.

The struggle is that there is too much demand to keep up with the supply.

On Friday, Baptist Hospital filled 13,013 appointments, but they are no longer filling slots pending the arrival of more vaccine.

Miami Dade County booked 1,895 appointments Thursday with slots gone in less than 20 minutes. New slots are pending the arrival of additional doses.

Hard Rock Stadium has 1,000 appointments available per day over the next 7 days with additional appointments dependent on additional vaccine allocated by the government.

One woman told Local 10 how she successfully booked an appointment.

“If you really want it, you have to stick with it. Don’t give up,” she said.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."