Amid vaccination shortage, Miami-Dade commissioners pass resolution, Florida sets eligibility restrictions

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MIAMI (WSVN) - State leaders are taking steps to make sure Florida residents are the only ones receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, as leaders in Miami-Dade County are calling on them to ensure more people are able to begin receiving their doses as soon as possible.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees issued a public health advisory requiring recipients to show proof of residency before they roll up their sleeves. That means full-time and seasonal Florida residents will receive priority, with some exceptions.

Jackson Health has already put in place similar rules. Officials said they have vaccinated more than 50,000 people in the last five weeks.

The announcement comes as Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis underscored the severity of the situation for the state’s more than four million seniors during a South Florida stop on Thursday.

“Twenty-six percent of Florida’s population is over the age of 65,” he said. “These are somebody’s grandmother. These are somebody’s aunt, their uncle. We all feel it.”

Since nearly the start of vaccine distribution, Florida’s seniors have been a top priority. Now, state leaders believe they should be the nation’s priority.

Patronis and other leaders said Florida should receive more vaccines than other states and added Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office is doing everything possible to make that happen.

“We’re doing everything we can to turn up the heat,” he said.

Patronis’ visit comes as the state reported 12,873 new cases of the virus and a positivity rate of 8.5%.

With infections still on the rise, the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution pressuring state leaders to make the vaccine eligible to more groups of people.

“I simply ask our governor to please add on the next round of vaccinations for our teachers, our law enforcement officers and other frontline workers to be prioritized for the vaccination,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins.

Talk of widening accessibility comes at a time when there’s a national shortage of the vaccine.

Baptist Health and Mount Sinai hospitals have canceled vaccination appointments to ensure they have enough second doses for those who need the booster shot.

Patronis said supply should start to increase, though it will take time.

“I got a report earlier today that Moderna is anticipated by the first week of March to have up to 100 million units produced,” he said.

In the meantime, sites across Miami-Dade, like Hard Rock Stadium and Marlins Park, continue to vaccinate thousands of people daily, and the City of Miami continues a mobile program aimed at delivering doses of the vaccine to senior communities.

In Broward County, those looking to receive the vaccine through the Department of Health will now have to call to make an appointment. That number is 866-201-6313.

Thursday night, officials announced the vaccination site at Holiday Park will be moving on Tuesday to Snyder Park, located at 3299 SW 4th Ave.

For more information about making an appointment at Miami-Dade vaccination sites, click here. For sites in Broward, click here.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

The Health Department’s order can be read below.

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