MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – It’s the day we’ve been waiting more than a year for. All adult Florida residents are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at distribution sites across the state, and officials are handling a heavy turnout.
“I’m just doing this mostly for my family,” said Diana Lovos, an 18-year-old vaccine recipient.
Paula Gomez, 24, said: “I think it’s our duty as humans to get the vaccine, so that’s why I get up early today to come.”
On the first day of the expansion to 18+, vaccine sites were dealing with long lines of people.
“Things are going very smoothly, considering” Florida Division of Emergency Management spokesman Mike Jachles said outside the vaccination site at Miami Dade College’s North Campus.
Jachles said the biggest backup appeared to be the cars waiting to come in, but he said it was better for people to be waiting inside their cars with the A/C going than for them to be waiting outside.
At the FEMA-funded hub, officials were urging anyone 40 and older to get the shot this past weekend because they expected the site to get much busier with the age requirement dropping.
People returning for their second dose at Miami Dade College are encouraged to come later in the day to avoid the morning rush. They will get their second shot regardless of arrival time
WATCH: Officials give updates at MDC North COVID-19 vaccination site
Inside that FEMA hub at Miami Dade College they have 40 vaccine stations running at the same time, which means they can do 600 vaccines an hour.
Monday is the last day that staff members at that site are administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Beginning Tuesday, up to 3,000 Johnson & Johnson doses will be administered daily.
The switchover to J&J is meant to reduce confusion and the need to come back for a booster shot.
But if you already got your first Pfizer dose at that location, you are guaranteed your second dose.
Those who are 16 and 17 could also receive the Pfizer vaccine only on Monday at Miami Dade College’s North Campus, but a parent or legal guardian had to come and bring proof of the connection, such as a birth certificate or court document.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only one currently authorized for use by 16- and 17-year-olds. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots are approved for 18+.
Proof of residency, such as a Florida government ID, is also required for vaccines.
Jachles said those who do not have a Florida driver’s license or state ID may bring a financial document or utility bill that is from no later than two months ago.
More than 6.3 million people have now received COVID-19 vaccines in Florida, with over 3.6 million people in the state fully vaccinated.
Miami-Dade has had 808,345 people receive shots, Broward has had 565,645, Monroe 25,374 and Palm Beach County 465,615, according to the latest data posted by the state.