AstraZeneca seeks emergency approval by FDA to be used in US; FEMA-supported vaccination sites relocate

SWEETWATER, FLA. (WSVN) - It has been smooth sailing at Federal Emergency Management Agency vaccination sites in South Florida, as a fourth vaccine maker is looking to get its shot approved in the United States.

Guests lined up to receive their second vaccine dose as part of a rotating vaccination system. Sites that were set up at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center and at Charles Hadley Park relocated to Ronselli Park in Sweetwater and the Florida City Youth Activity Center at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Only second doses will be administered at the sites to those who were vaccinated with their first dose three weeks ago at the same location.

“I like that you don’t need an appointment,” said Stefanie Harris. “I think it’s, you know, I actually see our tax dollars at work, which makes me happy.”

One nurse spoke with 7News about why she got the vaccine.

“It’s better if you do get it, looking at the percentage, you know,” she said. “It’s just better to protect yourself.”

7News cameras captured people already lining up to receive their second dose of the vaccine before 6 a.m. The sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Miami-Dade College North vaccination site, the largest in South Florida, is distributing second doses to those who need one, as well as 500 first doses per day.

The state on Tuesday reported 5,300 new cases of the virus and a positivity rate of 6.5%.

To help reign in the pandemic, AstraZeneca plans to seek emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

While some are concerned about the drug’s safety, Florida International University infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty said the evidence isn’t there.

“It’s not something that we have the data to support at this time, so it may be just as safe as other vaccines,” she said.

With Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccinating tens of millions of people weekly, Marty said AstraZeneca may be too late to the game.

“We don’t necessarily need an additional vaccine in the United States at this time,” she said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Washington gave a COVID response update.

“Every day, two and a half to three million people get vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, “so every day we get closer and closer to that extraordinary degree of effectiveness.”

Those planning to receive their second dose of the vaccine at a FEMA-supported site must bring with them their CDC shot card as well as their Florida-issued identification card.

Additionally, those planning on receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine must visit one of the four hub sites and not the satellite sites.

Also on Wednesday, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez announced a new COVID-19 walk-up vaccination site will open at Babcock Park. Anyone who is a Florida resident can get vaccinated at the site. The site will offer 200 appointments daily starting Monday.

Homebound seniors who are Hialeah residents can register to schedule appointments by calling 305-863-2955.

“We will have teams going out there to vaccinate these individuals and also their caretakers, if they wish to be vaccinated,” Hernandez said.

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