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COVID-19 vaccines in Miami-Dade: Low supply slows 2nd dose access; officials launch new phone line

MIAMI – George Kirkman received his first dose on Jan. 9 at the distribution site at Hard Rock Stadium after his first attempt to secure a vaccine at a state-run site was foiled by a scheduling glitch. He was worried on Tuesday because he has yet to get a phone call for his second appointment.

The low supply of the COVID-19 vaccines was already slowing the distribution of the second dose of the vaccine in Miami-Dade County. Officials have said they are committed to administering that second dose within the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s expanded six-week window.

Just five days ago the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. Pfizer’s window for the second dose was 21 days and Moderna’s was 28 days. In Florida, the vaccine is still only being distributed to seniors age 65 and older and to healthcare personnel.

“Knowing that that second dose is critical, not knowing if they are going to turn me away or get the vaccine on the 30th is a concern,” Kirkman said.

According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Tuesday, the state has already started scheduling appointments for the second dose at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Miami-Dade County launched a new phone line — 305-614-2014 — for appointments which are also distributed through the county’s appointment online portal.

The government’s call to schedule the second dose will come from a number with a 786 area code, according to FDEM.

Mercy Hospital in Miami is waiting on additional COVID-19 vaccinations from the state and postponing all second dose vaccinations for community-based healthcare workers and first responders this week, according to an internal email. A hospital spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that like many other providers, they too are awaiting additional supply.

Local 10 News checked with several other hospital groups to gauge whether they would have to postpone second doses and none said they are in that situation. Jackson Health, Memorial Healthcare System, Mount Sinai, Baptist Health, Broward Health and Tenet Healthcare all indicated they would have ample supply for second doses.

In other vaccine news, Miami-Dade is opening a new appointment-only vaccine distribution site at Miami Dade College North Campus, at 11380 NW 27th Ave., and reopening the site at Zoo Miami, at 12400 SW 152nd St.

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