Why sit in line for COVID test but not get a vaccine?

Scene at Miami-Dade’s Tropical Park highlights a key question

Tropical Park in Miami-Dade County illustrated that question Thursday. Local 10 News spoke to at least one person who was willing to get tested fearing she had the coronavirus but afraid to get a vaccine.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Rachel Morera was part of the long line of people who showed up at Tropical Park on Thursday to get tested for COVID-19.

“I’m getting tested today because I think I have it,” she told Local 10 News.

But Morera isn’t vaccinated, so we asked why she would wait in line for a test but not get a vaccine, also readily available at Tropical Park.

“I don’t know. I’m scared to get it. I’m going to wait a little bit longer,” she said.

It illustrated the challenge the county faces as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge to concerning levels. Many more cars were in line for tests Thursday at the park in southwest Miami-Dade than the shorter line for vaccines.

“It’s the unvaccinated that are really causing so much difficulty for us here,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who one day earlier announced a mask mandate in county government buildings and urged masks to be work elsewhere in large groups and enclosed spaces.

[ALSO SEE: Miami-Dade’s new mask mandate kicks in with some criticism]

Local 10 News asked the mayor if that new rule for county facilities can hold against the state’s ban on such mandates.

“We will do everything we can to make sure that it is adhered to,” she said. “Look, this is not our first rodeo. We’ve been here a year and a half and people know that we did get our numbers way down and now the numbers are going up because of those who are unvaccinated.”

The unvaccinated are the most severe COVID cases heading to hospitals, hosting the morphing virus, the biggest reason Miami-Dade’s positivity rate climbed back over 10%.

Time-lapse data shows how Miami-Dade went from substantial to high risk on July 4 — and remained there as the rest of the state followed.

On Wednesday, Florida reported 17,589 new COVID-19 cases to the CDC, numbers that haven’t been seen since January.

Those who were getting vaccinated Thursday at Tropical Park?

Local 10 News saw people from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Colombia — all in Miami-Dade to get vaccinated.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."