You don’t need to be a full-time Florida resident to get a COVID-19 vaccine

State aims to be ‘flexible’ with residency requirement

People here on a work visa or living in Florida part time can get the shots, state emergency managers say.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – As South Florida works to increase the percentage of its population with COVID-19 vaccines, some are wondering how to include people who are living here temporarily or working in the state on a visa.

“If they want to get herd immunity in the country here, everybody needs to be vaccinated, and we have people coming here on visas ... they should make it available,” says Raymond Dettmann, who reached out to Local 10 News after his adult stepdaughter visiting from Honduras on a visa was denied a dose at the federally funded vaccination site at Miami Dade College.

She was told she needed a Florida ID.

“It just seems to make it so difficult for someone who wants to get a shot,” Dettmann said.

Florida started requiring proof of residency in January to crack down on reports of vaccine tourism during a time of high demand and low supply. But now, supply has expanded, with anyone over 16 is eligible in the state, and demand has softened.

Local 10 News reached out to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which said the needed proof of residency isn’t just a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID.

It can include:

  • Work visa
  • Letter from employer
  • Letter from landlord
  • Letter from a person you’re staying with if a seasonal resident

An FDEM spokeswoman said that the state “remains flexible with residency requirements for vaccines” and that “the goal is to ensure all Floridians have access to the vaccines and to prevent residents from other states or countries coming to Florida to receive a vaccine.”

The spokeswoman, in an email to Local 10, added that “any other documentation that provides proof of residential address” can be used. Examples of that can include “a letter from an employer, other form of proof of employment in the state, a letter from a landlord or property owner, proof of marriage if spouse is listed on all residential documents, etc.”

The guidance also says that seasonal residents “can show proof of residential address from with whom the resident resides and a statement from the person with whom the seasonal resident resides stating that the seasonal resident does reside with them.”

After Local 10 reached out Tuesday, Dettmann’s stepdaughter was able to get a shot this afternoon.

Dettmann spoke to Local 10 News again afterward:

The state says people on work visas and living temporarily in Florida can get COVID-19 shots here with certain forms that show they aren't coming in as vaccine tourists.

According to the latest numbers from the state’s health department, 53.9% of Miami-Dade County’s population eligible for a vaccine has received at least one shot and 35.3% are fully vaccinated. Broward is 41% through at least one shot and 33.7% complete. In Monroe, those percentages are at 52.6% and 35%, respectively.

In the meantime, with South Florida at a high level of community transmission, with variants in the mix and hospitalizations up, infectious disease expert Dr. Bindu Mayi offers a reminder that mask compliance remains critical.

“Your best bet is to continue to engage in prevention measures, which is wearing a mask, which is keeping a certain physical distance and good hand hygiene,” said Mayi, of Nova Southeastern University.

ALSO SEE: CDC says many Americans can now go outside without a mask

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."