First vaccine doses extended at Miami Dade College’s North Campus to April 7

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – There is now a larger window of opportunity for people to come get their first doses at Miami Dade College’s North Campus.

Folks lined up before 7 a.m. Tuesday to get their shot.

Staff members at the FEMA-supported vaccination site were planning to stop giving first doses on Wednesday so they could focus solely on second doses.

But in a reversal, the Florida Division of Emergency Management decided to extend first doses through April 7.

“Which is good news for folks that are in that 50 and over age group that can come out and get the vaccine,” Florida Division of Emergency Management spokesman Mike Jachles said.

“We actually hit our highest number. Yesterday, over 5,700 doses (were) given for first and a mixture of second shots,” said Miami Dade College North Campus site lead Bruce Roberts.

But starting Wednesday, the daily vaccine allotment at Miami Dade College’s North Campus will drop from 3,000 to just 500.

Meanwhile, at FEMA-funded satellite sites, staff will stop administering first doses on Tuesday so they can focus on providing second doses in the communities that originally hosted them.

“You need to bring your CDC shot card and your ID with you. That’s a must,” Jachles said.

On Monday, Floridians 50 and older became eligible for the shot.

“It’s important,” 50-year-old vaccine recipient Tom Parker said. “I got my kids, my grandparents. Their grandparents want to see the kids, so we’re trying to get everybody vaccinated as soon as possible so we can have more family time.”

In a tweet, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said she’s going one step further by lowering the age of eligibility to 40 at county-run sites starting next Monday.

You don’t have to live in that county to get a shot, but you do have to pre-register. You can do so by clicking here.

This applies only to the following county-run vaccination sites:

  • Homestead Sports Complex
  • Tropical Park
  • Zoo Miami

Click here to make a first dose appointment at one of those three locations.

In Broward County, the mayor is not planning to lower the age of eligibility, in part because they don’t have a county-run vaccination pre-registration system like Miami-Dade, meaning the state-system in place for Broward sites would prevent people outside the state’s eligibility requirements from registering for a dose. But the mayor says he believes the governor will do that himself soon.

“I’d be surprised if the governor doesn’t take us there in the next week or two,” Mayor Steve Geller said.

Geller also worries about the legal standing to drop the age requirement to 40 and older ahead of the governor, which Orange County has already done.

Former state and federal prosecutor David Weinstein told Local 10 News that while Miami-Dade County and Orange County run the risk of the governor “punishing” them for bucking his age-based eligibility rules by perhaps threatening to reduce future allocations, county mayors, he said, also face a fiscal responsibility to get taxpayer-funded doses with a shelf life into arms.

“It becomes a bit of a political question, but if the goal is to effectively and efficiently get the vaccines into the arms of the people who live in Florida then it should be up to the counties to decide how they use the doses that are allocated to them,” Weinstein said.

Vaccines will continue to be distributed at Miami Dade College’s North Campus until 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Tuesday morning at a vaccination location in Pensacola, at which time he confirmed that more than 3 million seniors have received the vaccine in Florida.

He said the state received an unexpected 42,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week and touted that snagging an appointment has been easier than earlier this year.

The governor did not confirm when the vaccine would be available to all Florida residents but said it will happen before the president’s May 1 deadline.

“We’re going to get to a point where this is just going to be available to everyone,” DeSantis said. “I think that’s going to happen relatively soon, but you know, they set a date -- I think the administration set a date by May 1st they basically wanted it to be open to all adults, and I can tell you that in Florida that’s going to happen way before May 1st.”

Related links:

Who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Florida?

List of cases by city in South Florida

Find a COVID-19 testing site near you

Hospital bed capacity and availability

Coronavirus cases in Florida schools

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