WESTVIEW, Fla. – At Miami Dade College North Campus in Westview, pedestrians who weren’t driving were walking inside the white tents with COVID-19 vaccines faster than the drivers who had to wait for parking spaces.
Sean Muñoz said he drove from Pompano Beach to MDC North and when he arrived about 5:30 a.m. there were some 200 drivers waiting to get inside for the vaccine. Despite this, he said it was all worth it.
“The whole process was very fast, painless,” Muñoz said about the state-run and federally-supported site.
As of Monday, people who are 40 years old or older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. People who are 18 to 40 years old need the state’s determination of extreme vulnerability form signed by a physician to receive the vaccine.
In preparation for the high demand, Mike Jachles, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said the daily allotment of the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the MDC North site increased from 1,200 to 3,000.
“We are going to have a busy couple of weeks here. We are prepared for it,” Jachles said. “We have 40 vaccine stations that are operating simultaneously, so we’re able to do about 400 vaccines per hour.”
According to the Florida Department of Health’s latest report, the state had administered 8,469,948 doses as of Saturday, including 1,034,489 in Miami-Dade County and 739,531 in Broward County. The FDOH also reported 3,075,333 completed the vaccine series in Florida, including 366,250 in Miami-Dade and 266,519 in Broward.
Access will expand to everyone on April 5. The hub at MDC North will stay open until May 26. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the double-dose Pfizer vaccine for teenagers who are age 16 or older. The FDA only authorized the use of the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines for adults.
Monica Young was also at MDC North on Monday. She said she, her husband, her cousin, and her cousin’s wife are all in their 40s, and they decided to turn the process into a family trip.
”Super happy! Now we can hug my mom,” Young said. “I haven’t hugged my mom in a year.”