MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The federal government is partnering with state and local leaders to open four new mass vaccination sites in Florida for vulnerable populations, including one at Miami Dade College’s north campus.
The plan was formally introduced by the White House COVID-19 Response Team on Friday morning.
The four federally supported sites in Florida will open March 3 and operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
They are located at:
- Miami Dade College-North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave. in Miami
- TGT Poker & Racebook in Tampa, 755 E. Waters Ave. in Tampa
- Valencia College-West Campus, 1800 S. Kirkman Road in Orlando
- Gateway Town Center mall, 5200 Norwood Ave. in Jacksonville
The state will use its existing preregistration system and “work with local community organizations to proactively schedule appointments,” the governor’s office said.
To preregister on the statewide system, residents eligible to be vaccinated can go to myvaccine.fl.gov or call the designated phone number for their county. (In Miami-Dade the number is 888-499-0840; in Broward it is 866-201-6313; in Monroe it is 866-201-7069; in Palm Beach it is 866-201-6754.)
Each of the four new sites is expected to administer 2,000 vaccines per day. “Additionally, each site will have two smaller, mobile satellite sites that will conduct 500 vaccinations per day in underserved areas. Through this hub and spoke model each group of one primary site and two satellite sites will offer 3,000 vaccinations per day,” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office detailed in a news release.
The White House said it selected the four sites “using a range of criteria, most central to those is the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.” The federal government is also opening a new mass vaccination site in Philadelphia.
Miami-Dade was highlighted as one of the areas in Florida with a significantly underserved or marginalized population, the White House said. “The county population is principally composed of minority residents and it has the third-highest SVI score of all counties examined. Its expansive vulnerable population has the fifth-lowest percentage of population vaccinated.”
The White House noted that there’s an 18% poverty rate in Miami-Dade and that 86.6% of the population are minorities. Additionally, 10.1% of the population has a disability and 15.6% of the population is over 65. More than 20% of the population has a limited English proficiency, and one in 10 households does not have a vehicle, according to federal statistics.
“Miami-Dade County and District 24 in particular are home to a significant proportion of Miami’s frontline and other essential workers and it is critically important to do everything possible to protect their health considering their high level of exposure to the greater public,” Rep. Frederica Wilson said in a statement. “Keeping them healthy and safe helps keep us all safe. This is literally the shot in the arm that our county needs.”
Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega said the school is “very proud to be chosen as a committed partner in helping our community and the entire country reach normalcy during this global pandemic.”
The United Way of Miami-Dade also praises the cooperation between the White House and the state to make this happen.
“We have worked with the health institutions in our community, with the county, and with countless community organizations to make sure the hardest to reach older adults, aged 65 and older, have access to the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Linda Schotthoefer, associate VP of community initiatives at United Way of Miami-Dade, “so the joint strategy of the White House and the state of Florida to expand vaccines to make sure they get to those that need them most is a great response to the pandemic at this time and will be very, very helpful in our efforts.”
“The addition of the White House and the state strategy to this effort is incredibly timely and will be very, very helpful in our efforts.” -Linda Schotthoefer, Associate Vice President of Community Initiatives at @UnitedWayMiami #SoundOn ▶️ https://t.co/csWiOFZmxt https://t.co/cQgjmUB4Ne pic.twitter.com/LwttChMvpr— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) February 19, 2021
Florida’s vaccines remain limited to state residents 65 and older, plus frontline healthcare workers and those deemed “extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.”
Jackson Health on Friday announced Friday that next week they will expand vaccinations to patients over 55 who have certain medical conditions that increase their risk.
Broward County Mayor Steve Geller sent a letter to DeSantis on Friday asking that eligibility for the shots widen to people over 55, law enforcement officers and teachers.
“People over 55 have an increased risk of bad results from exposure to COVID, all first responders run the risk of contracting COVID while protecting us, and vaccinating teachers will help with a full return of children to our schools,” Geller said.
WATCH A REPLAY OF THE WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM NEWS CONFERENCE BELOW: