MIAMI – According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are now 125 cases of the B117 strain, also known as the UK variant. That variant has been detected in Florida, with more than half of the cases in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
The race is on for South Floridians to get vaccinated. On Sunday, the Hard Rock Stadium vaccinated 1,200 people.
Researchers at the University of Miami are actively searching for variant cases by looking at the virus in patients at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
With Floridians having trouble making appointments since vaccine distribution began, the state is hoping to make things easier with a centralized website: myvaccine.fl.gov.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday on This Week in South Florida the county will also unveil a similar registration site this week.
“The biggest issue is supply,” Levine Cava said. “We will allow people to sign up just once and we will draw down from that list as the supply becomes available, but we will not be booking appointments until we get our allocation every single week.”
The site where people will be able to sign up for an appointment is vaccines.nomihealth.com/mdc.
“I have created the centralized information site miamidade.gov/vaccine, also available in Spanish and Creole, and we have now ordered all dispensing sites to provide us with the information that they have. The state is doing its thing, and when the federal government gets involved you know they’ll do their thing, and the important point is the public needs to have a centralized source of information to not have the anxiety of constantly hunting,” Levine Cava said.
Vaccine demand is currently higher than the available supply.
Despite the fact that Black and Hispanic people are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, many in these communities are not getting vaccines.
Lack of access and distrust are among the reasons Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Hansel Tookes blames for this phenomenon.
“There is profound mistrust of the vaccine in minority communities, and Tuskegee is one example of evil, but what I tell my patients is we can’t allow the evil of what occurred in Tuskegee to harm us today in 2021,” Dr. Tookes said Sunday on This Week in South Florida.
That skepticism among the community is nothing new. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment in the 1930s is just one example in which a disease progressed without treatment.
How well vaccines will shield against the UK strain is also being researched locally. The more transmissible UK strain is potentially more dangerous.
“(This) variant is not just more contagious but also perhaps more severe,” FIU Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Aileen Marty said earlier this weekend.