MIAMI – As frustration grows amid the difficulty to secure COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Florida seniors, hospital outreach to faith communities has been a blessing.
“Jackson provided us with a block of vaccines for this morning,” Rabbi Jonathan Tabachnikoff, of Dor Chadash, told Local 10 News.
Lew Matusow was one of the seniors who made his appointment through his Miami synagogue, Dor Chadash, after Jackson Health partnered with various houses of worship to get more seniors vaccinated.
“I don’t want to get religious here, but if you wanna talk about miracles, this is like a miracle,” he said.
Khalid Mirza, a local leader of the Muslim community who received the vaccine at Jackson South Medical Center through his Miami Gardens congregation, said he’s grateful Jackson reached out to local Muslim seniors, as well.
Jackson Health System has partnered with nearly 55 churches, synagogues and mosques throughout Miami-Dade County to vaccinate seniors.
Their goal is to reach those 65 and older in underserved communities who may struggle with technology and are unable to secure an appointment online to receive the vaccine.
Jackson launched the initiative last week with 23 churches and vaccinated more than 1,600 seniors and will vaccinate 2,095 more on Friday.
But so many still struggle to find an appointment.
Florida’s surgeon general sent out a public health advisory on Thursday, requiring people to prove they live in Florida to get their coronavirus vaccine.
“Vaccine tourism” is an issue City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez addressed Tuesday while announcing the opening of Marlins Park as a vaccination site.
“It is not legal for people to be flying in from other parts of the world and getting vaccinated as a sort of vaccination tourism,” Suarez said.
Meanwhile, superintendents of both Miami-Dade’s and Broward’s public schools announced special arrangements for school employees over 65 to be vaccinated, starting this weekend.
Eligible employees should have already been contacted by email.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the slots are being “specifically earmarked for the school system” at three locations.
About 700 appointments have been made for this weekend for school employees in Miami-Dade County, and the superintendent said more vaccination events are to come.
“We must prioritize our public school teachers and staff for this vaccine,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.
In Broward, employees must present a Florida ID, as well as their school ID.
The registration deadline was at 9 a.m. Friday.
Both superintendents said they are urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to place all teachers on the next priority list for vaccinations