MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The demand to get COVID-19 vaccines remains high, as evidenced by the long line of people waiting in their cars to get a shot Monday morning at Hard Rock Stadium.
One barrier to this point has been the requirement of making an appointment, but that barrier is now coming down.
Starting Monday, the state-run Hard Rock Stadium site no longer requires appointments for vaccines. To cut down on wait times, people are strongly urged to preregister, which can be done at commvax.patientportalfl.com.
Sandra Guffey, 64, said she had been wanting a vaccine for some time but struggled to make an appointment.
“That is my godsend,” she said of that requirement being lifted. “I don’t have a computer. So this really helps a lot, especially the old, old people.”
As soon as she found out about the change, she drove from Century Village in Pembroke Pines to get the shot.
“I didn’t even feel the needle,” she said.
To make the vaccine accessible to more people, Hard Rock Stadium is also expanding its hours of operation. Vaccinations now go from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
They are planning to do 3,000 Pfizer first doses every day at the stadium, plus 1,700 second doses daily, spokesman Mike Jachles said.
Guffey noted that the expanded hours will help people who are working and can’t afford to take off time from work.
The stadium site is administering the vaccine to teenagers age 16 and 17, as long as they bring a parent or legal guardian and documentation like a birth certificate.
Right now, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for that age group.
Jamie Jacobson, 16, went to Miami Dade College’s north campus Monday morning looking for a shot, but he couldn’t get it because they’re only giving Johnson & Johnson shots for first-time recipients, so his dad brought him to Hard Rock Stadium.
“It’s good that we’re vaccinating younger people so we can just get out of this faster,” Jacobson said. “That’s all we want, is to have this done and get back to normal life.”
Through Monday, more than 7.2 million people in Florida have received vaccines, with over 4.4 million fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 testing is still being done at Hard Rock Stadium, through a separate line, and that runs from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.