DeSantis announces new vaccination sites in Miami-Dade, says older law enforcement and teachers could be next to be vaccinated

HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - The demand for doses of the coronavirus vaccine brought Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to South Florida with some big announcements.

Starting Wednesday, seniors will have even more options for getting vaccines at local pharmacies. Teachers and law enforcement could make the list soon as well.

While the expansion of vaccines is good news for those groups, not everyone was happy to see DeSantis.

“I don’t know why he doesn’t want to talk to me or invite me anywhere when Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in the state and one of the most affected,” said Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez.

Hernandez took a moment to take the mic and call out the governor for not inviting him to the news conference.

“We still have not received that percentage of vaccines, according to our senior citizen population,” he said.

DeSantis on Tuesday said the vaccinations at these new sites could begin as early as Thursday.

“This is going to be really significant, I think, for this area,” he said.

The governor visited Hialeah to announce that Miami-Dade seniors will have more locations to choose from to get their COVID-19 vaccine starting Wednesday.

“And every single one of the 31 Navarro Discount pharmacies in Miami-Dade County, and every single one of the 35 CVS EMA stores in Miami-Dade County,” he said.

The stores were selected in an effort to reach underserved areas.

“Dozens of these retail locations that I just called out are familiar, culturally relevant healthcare destinations for Black and Hispanic populations across South Florida, and other communities with the greatest need for support,” said Regional Director of CVS Health Ahmed Velez.

Each site is set to administer 100 shots a day as the state continues to look to retail pharmacies to deliver doses.

Starting next Wednesday, they will administer 2,000 shots a day at Miami-Dade College’s north campus — one of four federally supported vaccination sites coming to Florida.

The doses given there are in addition to the state’s allotment.

“We want that to be open not just to seniors but to sworn law enforcement and classroom teachers, and so we’ll start with probably 50 and up for the police and the classroom teachers,” said DeSantis.  “We are, hopefully, going to hit very soon 50% of all seniors in Florida will have received a shot. We’re in the mid-40s, about 45%, 46% right now. Once these guys get these shots going, then you’re going to see those numbers go up very quickly.”

About 8,400 teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools are between 50 and 64.

“We certainly hope that this prioritization continues to be extended not only to teachers as they are frontline essential employees but also all school employees who have had direct contact with children and the public,” said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

As for Broward County, the president of the Broward Teachers Union said about 6,000 educators will be eligible for the vaccine.

“Just the sense of being vaccinated should give a lot more comfortability to the educators, and it’ll help if more people in the community have the vaccine,” said Anna Fusco.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he hopes the extended vaccinations will bring more teachers back to the classroom.

Currently, between 600 and 700 teachers are working from home.

“This should go a long way to addressing a significant portion of that population who are still having concerns and unease about returning back,” Runcie said.

“I think there’s a lot to be thankful for, a lot to be excited about,” DeSantis said.

Starting Tuesday, Jackson Health System is expanding its vaccination criteria to include residents 55 years and older with specific medical conditions.

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