Miami-Dade getting limited coronavirus vaccine doses next week

County-run program gets zero shots for new patients next week

As vaccine efforts spread, the limited supply of shots is being stretched thinner. Miami-Dade vaccine sites at Tropical Park and Zoo Miami aren't expected to be able to welcome new patients next week, because they aren't getting inventory from the state of Florida.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Another shipment of coronavirus vaccines will be coming to Hard Rock Stadium, Marlins Park and Jackson Health, but Miami-Dade County’s own distribution program will be receiving zero shots for new patients from the state next week, county emergency management director Frank Rollason said Thursday.

About 7,000 shots apiece are expected at the state-run Hard Rock Stadium and Marlins Park sites next week for new patients, and 8,000 are headed to the Jackson system.

But don’t expect to see more appointments available via the county’s website for next week at Tropical Park or Zoo Miami.

“We are not going to get any for our sites,” Rollason said in a county commission briefing. “That being the case, we have what is planned out for the balance of this week and the opening Friday for the zoo. We will make it through the weekend, and then for all intents and purposes, we will be closed.

“And that’s the way the state is operating. In other words, you run out of the vaccine, and that’s the objective, to get as many people vaccinated as you can. You don’t try to stretch it out over a large period of time. And we’re doing that largely.”

The supply Rollason is discussing is for first shots through the county’s distribution, and does not involve supplies that may be going to hospitals, churches and other locations within the county next week. The county is still expecting to receive the needed second shots for patients who have received the first.

The vaccine allocations cascade down from the federal government to the states, and then from the states to the local level, based largely on population needs.

“In every case, it is limited by supply,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “And we are virtually at the pleasure of the federal government and the state government week by week.”

Florida is on its way to vaccinating 708,000 people to date, including almost 85,000 in Miami-Dade and more than 62,000 in Broward, as the state focuses on seniors and front-line medical workers.

But as more vaccine sites open, a finite supply is spread thinner among the counties, hospitals and other entities doing public vaccinations.

The scheduled Jackson allotment of 8,000 shots for next week is a little over half of what it has been the past few weeks. Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya said that with more inventory, his hospital system could inoculate a lot more people.

Zoo Miami opens Friday as a county-run vaccination site. There will be no COVID-19 testing there, just vaccines. Tropical Park had already opened as a county-run vaccine distribution location.

Zoo Miami’s operation will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There were 250 appointments available for Friday, 500 on Saturday and 500 on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.

All appointments were to be made online on the county’s website, where new reservations have been scooped up in minutes every time they’ve been posted.

Earlier this week, Cava said the county would be reaching out to people who have received their first vaccine shot from Miami-Dade’s program to make an appointment for the second shot. She expressed that the county had been told that inventory should be available from the state.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., led a group of Florida lawmakers in sending a letter to Operation Warp Speed to request that the state receive a greater allotment of vaccines from the federal government to account for seasonal residents. The letter notes that nearly a million visitors make Florida their temporary home each winter.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Commissioners Danielle Cohen Higgins and Rebeca Sosa introduced legislation intended to urge the prioritization of COVID-19 shots for teachers, law enforcement and other frontline workers who to this point are not included in the state’s vaccine rollout plan.

And among the patchwork of distribution sites vying for supply, the City of Miami is looking into how to use inventory at sites within city-limits for city residents only. The state’s vaccine program does not call for proof of residency, which has frustrated many locals who see or hear stories of people from elsewhere coming in for shots.

“The resolution requests that the city attorney take all legal steps, so obviously whatever we do has to pass legal muster,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.


How to get coronavirus vaccines in Miami-Dade County

COVID-19 vaccination site to soon open at Zoo Miami

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing