People travel from near and far to get J&J vaccine in northwest Miami-Dade

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Despite the high demand, a representative from the FEMA-supported vaccination site at Miami Dade College’s North Campus says he believes there will be enough COVID-19 vaccines for everyone who shows up Wednesday.

Walter and Vielka Truax drove all the way from Naples to get the vaccine at the site in northwest Miami-Dade.

“The lottery system over there was very frustrating,” Walter Truax, 65, said. “You have to get up every morning at 7 o’clock and get online. We did it for about two or three weeks. We could never get a slot. And then someone told me about this FEMA place.”

The couple is among thousands of people who are coming to the site Wednesday as the age eligibility requirement was lowered this week.

Sky 10 was above the site Wednesday morning as long lines of people waited for their turn.

“I was waiting for two hours outside, but then when I got inside, it took me 15 minutes. Yeah, it was great,” Marcelle Collares, 21, said.

Wednesday is the second day the site is only offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and second-dose Pfizer vaccines.

“I used to work for Johnson & Johnson for three years, so I trust the company,” Eric Williams, 41, said. “They’re a very ethical company and I’m sure they wouldn’t put something on the market that wasn’t going to be effective and safe.”

Tuesday was a record-breaking day for vaccinations.

More than 10,000 vaccines were administered across four different sites run by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

A total of 4,000 of those were at the college.

So many people are showing up that initially staff feared there would be a supply shortage Tuesday, but a representative says they wound up having enough vaccines after all.

Vaccinations will continue at Miami Dade College North until 7 p.m. Wednesday and the site will reopen at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Sites at Allen Park and Miami Springs will no longer be open, but locations are opening at Hadley park and in Cutler Bay, but only to offer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

According to the latest numbers, about 32 percent of people in Miami-Dade have received at least one shot. In Broward, that number is 30 percent and in Monroe County it’s 35 percent.

Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said he expects that percentage to hit the 50 percent threshold in around three weeks.

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