Seniors, healthcare workers flock to new vaccination locations in South Florida

MIAMI – Multiple new COVID-19 vaccination sites are now open in South Florida, including one near the Overtown Youth Center.

The location is in a parking lot at 1551 NW First Ave. It is a walk-up site for seniors 65 and older and frontline healthcare workers.

It is open seven days a week and appointments are not required at this time.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the opening of the pop-up location last week, as well as several others, and said at least 200 vaccines will be administered on a daily basis at each site.

In addition to the Overtown Youth Center location, new vaccination sites also opened last week at Broward College’s North Campus in Coconut Creek and at Oak Grove Park in Miami.

Meanwhile, some senior citizens lined up Tuesday morning at a Walmart on Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines to get their vaccines.

Fitting rooms inside the Walmart were converted into vaccination rooms.

“It’s a good experience. You get me? You can stop in there and get the shot. It’s very good,” one woman told Local 10 News reporter Madeleine Wright.

Also in Broward County, starting Wednesday the health department is closing TY Park to the public and converting it to a vaccination site specifically for eligible police officers, firefighters and county school employees.

Miami-Dade College’s North Campus is also now home to a massive vaccination site. It’s run by the state and supported by FEMA.

A trial run took place Tuesday ahead of it’s grand opening on Wednesday

The site promises to administer 2,000 doses each day, 500 of which will be the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It will be one of the first sites in the county to officer the single dose shot.

“If someone says, ‘I prefer the Johnson & Johnson,’ we will have a ticket system of 500 a day and once we run out of that, that is it for Johnson & Johnson for the day,” said Bruce Roberts with Florida Division of Emergency Management.

The newly opened locations come as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is on its way to the Sunshine State.

“Tentatively, the numbers that we’re looking at for Johnson & Johnson shipments to Florida this week is 175,000 doses,” DeSantis said at a news conference on Monday.

DeSantis signed an executive order Monday, allowing people 50 and older who are sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school personnel to get the shot.

“We could probably do all of that 50 and up -- K-2 personnel and police/fire -- with just our J&J shipment,” the governor said.

The expected growth in the number of available doses will make this possible between vials of the J&J vaccine and a ramp up in Florida’s weekly Pfizer and Moderna shipments.

The doses will be divided among a growing number of retail pharmacy chains and pop-up vaccination sites.

“These officers, regardless of their age, they’re out there dealing with the people,” Steadman Stahl said. “We’re out there touching other people. We’re out there interacting with other people. Just a few weeks ago, we had two Coral Gables police officers that gave CPR to a lady that later tested positive.”

Stahl is the president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, a union that represents about 6,500 officers from Key West to Aventura.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he is pleased with the inclusion of teachers in the governor’s order, but said more needs to be done.

“We’re going to continue to advocate for a rapid expansion of vaccination eligibility for all school side personnel, regardless of age,” he said.

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