Miami-Dade battles COVID ‘misinformation’ with vaccine push

Transit workers and school employees are being hit hard with virus

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho calls it "a misinformation issue. ... Right now we need to put our differences aside and prioritize our work force and students and move forward."

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Officials say over 125 Miami-Dade transit employees are not working right now because they’re sick with COVID-19.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says they are also seeing people who work for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system lose their lives because of the aggressive delta variant.

In light of that, a pop-up vaccination event was held Tuesday at Lillie C. Evans K-8 in Northwest Miami-Dade.

Local leaders say a big challenge is vaccine hesitancy among frontline workers.

“It’s a misinformation issue,” Carvalho said. “Particularly in specific communities who have historically been hesitant, reasonably so. ... Right now we need to put our differences aside and prioritize our workforce and students and move forward.”

Transit employee Michael Williams died over the weekend, and more than a dozen Miami-Dade school employees and bus workers died in the past few weeks.

The union believes none were vaccinated.

“Across all of our labor unions, we are seeing a high number of African Americans who are unvaccinated and are passing away,” said Sonia Diaz, a spokeswoman for the transportation workers’ labor union. “Just in the transportation workers’ labor union, we’ve seen six.”

The head of the nurses’ union at Jackson Memorial Hospital says vaccines are still highly effective and the spike in hospital stays is finally easing

But there are still cases rattling families.

Carvalho said that on Wednesday the school board will vote on possibly giving a $275 stipend to any employee who elects to get vaccinated or can prove they already have. A similar incentive is already in place in Broward County.

The pop-up vaccination site is open until 5 p.m. Tuesday but there are many other places to get COVID-19 vaccines in South Florida. Click here for more information.

About the Author:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!