Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the new federal COVID-19 vaccine site in Miami-Dade

‘It just shows the strength of America’: New vaccine site is FEMA-supported and state-run

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Federal and state officials said a new vaccination site is ready to open at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, just after Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded eligibility to include K-12 school employees who are age 50 or older. Appointments are encouraged but not required.

Despite previous opposition, Desantis’ administration partnered with President Joe Biden’s administration to open the temporary vaccination center at Miami-Dade College’s North Campus at 11380 NW 27th Ave., in Westview.

Related link: State’s site to pre-register for a vaccine

A military pharmacist inventories and tracks doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday as they are brought into a new vaccination center in Miami Dade County. (Jocelyn Augustino /FEMA)

The partnership included a team effort by The Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Department of Defense. There are registration areas, a vaccine room, and an observation section inside a network of white air-conditioned tents.

“We have two registration tents with up to 90 personnel registering at a time,” said Bruce Roberts, of FDEM. “It just shows the strength of America.”

U.S. Army soldiers fill syringes with COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday at a new government vaccination center in Miami-Dade County. (Jocelyn Augustino /FEMA)

Roberts said he was very impressed to learn on Monday that U.S. Army pharmacists will be administering 2,000 doses daily at the MDC site — 1,500 by Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine and 500 by Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine.

The two new satellite locations at Ronselli Park, 250 SW 114 Ave., in Sweetwater and at the Florida City Youth Activity Center, 650 NW 5th Ave., will be set to distribute 500 doses each daily, Roberts said. The teams completed training and had trial runs on Tuesday.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Vincent Carey receives his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine on Tuesday at the new vaccination center at Miami Dade College. (Jocelyn Augustino/Federal Emergency Management Agency)

DeSantis’ expanded the eligibility requirements on Monday to also include firefighters, law enforcement officers, and K-12 school employees, cafeteria workers and school bus drivers, who are age 50 and older. Anyone who is 65 years old or older is also eligible.

Roberts said if anyone prefers the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine they will be able to request it at registration where there is a ticket system. The vaccination center will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day for about two months.

The state agencies involved include the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.

For more information about how to pre-register for a vaccine in Florida, visit the state’s page or call any of these three Miami-Dade County lines: 1-888-499-0840, 1-888-256-8918, or 1-833-540-2065.

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About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.