MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The vaccine rollout continues across Florida, but appointments because of supply are still hard to come by.
Still, it was a busy weekend at vaccine sites in South Florida and there was also plenty of conversation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and the issues the state and local hospitals face in getting the vaccine.
Recently, some local hospitals have had to cancel scheduled appointments due to a lack of supply.
Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo was on hand for a mobile vaccination event for seniors at Vista Alegre Apartments in Miami.
“Seniors are the most vulnerable population and the most at risk,” Carollo said.
Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez (R-Florida) appeared on Local 10′s Sunday news program, “This Week in South Florida,” to discuss issues of access and supply for Floridians over 65.
“This is a supply issue,” Nuñez said. “And so, we are at the behest of the federal government so each week we get an informed what our allocation will be. You mentioned last week 266,000, that is the expectation for next week. We were hoping for an increase so that we can continue to bolster our multi-dimensional strategy of getting shots in arms.”
(See the complete interview.)
Local 10 co-host of “This Week In South Florida” asked Nuñez about President Joe Biden’s plan to have a “more federal centralized system” when it comes to vaccine distribution.
“We don’t really need the federal government to come and set up sites, we have plenty of those, Hard Rock, Marlins Park. What we need is more supply, more vaccines. Florida will take care of delivering it to the right locations, making sure our partners are working efficiently, diligently, and getting as much vaccines administered to our priority group which is seniors first, and then being able to move on to other groups,” Nuñez said.
Mike Jacles, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, reported the number of vaccines administered since the Hard Rock Stadium started distribution on Jan. 6. They have not had to cancel any of their scheduled appointments.
“So far, since we started the vaccines on Jan. 6, we’ve administered 19,438 vaccines at this site, those are all first dose vaccines.” He said the second dose recipients will begin coming back to the site on Wednesday.
Jacles stressed that the Hard Rock test site is by appointment only. “There are no exceptions because of allotment,” he said. “The last thing we want is anyone to come out, wasted trip and not be able to get a vaccine.”
He also urged people to not arrive early when they do have an appointment.
“If you have an appointment, you will get a vaccine. Don’t come out more than 30 minutes before your appointment time. We’re seeing people that may have 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon appointments, they figure, ‘Well, let’s go first thing in the morning.’ And what that does is it creates a log jam, and a morning rush and it just further delays everybody that’s trying to get through. We have the appointments for a reason. It’s a very smooth and efficient process.”
Also on Sunday, members of Miami-Dade’s branch of the NAACP gathered to call for an equitable approach to distributing the vaccine.
Black Americans have become some of the hardest hit during the pandemic, yet only make of up about 6 percent of those who’ve been vaccinated in Miami-Dade County so far.
“That concerns us,” said Daniella Pierre, the president of the Miami-Dade NAACP. “Because health and access to health care is a fundamental right.”