MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Long lines formed outside of the Hard Rock Stadium on Friday morning, as seniors waited to receive their COVID-19 vaccine dose.
7SkyForce HD hovered above the parking lot where a long line of vehicles could be seen waiting to get in.
Seniors 65 and older are able to call 1-888-499-0840 to make an appointment to get tested at the Hard Rock Stadium.
“If you don’t have an appointment for the vaccine, we cannot accommodate you,” Florida Division of Emergency Management spokesperson Mike Jachles said. “The last thing we want is people to show up and wait and get turned away. If you have an appointment window, arrive no earlier than an hour before that window.”
There are currently 1,000 appointments available per day, and additional appointments are dependent on additional vaccine doses allocated by the federal government.
On Monday, due to the College Football Playoff National Championship game, the site will not be performing COVID-19 testing, but they will be vaccinating patients with appointments from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We’re working hard with the state, our hospitals, our cities and our private partners to get more vaccines out to the community as quickly as we receive them,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “Demand is currently much greater than our available supply.”
Seniors who were in line for the vaccine on Friday were participants in a soft opening of the site.
All vaccination sites across South Florida are by appointment only and walk-ups are not accepted.
Health officials are also advising those who have appointments to come at their designated time, otherwise the slot will be lost.
On Thursday, the state reached a new one-day record in new COVID-19 cases. The Florida Department of Health reported 19,816 new infections, with a positivity rate of approximately 10% across South Florida.
The health department reported over 19,000 new cases on Friday, as well, and the state’s positivity rate is hovering around 9.5%.
Baptist Health also said they will be offering 12,000 vaccine doses by appointment only beginning Monday. Appointment slots are open as of Friday.
Miami Beach is one of the only cities in South Florida that is distributing the vaccine themselves. Officials in the city are reaching out to members in the community who fit the criteria and are offering it to those individuals.
“At-home seniors, who are stuck in their homes, perhaps they’re in a wheelchair, we’re going to, we’re actually going to our congregate living communities, and we’re setting up vaccination pods,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said. “Right now, the amounts we’ve been getting are so small that it really doesn’t make any sense to open it up to the general public.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 22 cases of the mutated B.1.1.7 variant of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed in Florida, which is nearly half of confirmed cases in the United States.
The B.1.1.7 variant can spread quicker, and Gelber stressed the importance of people taking precautions.
“That’s exactly the reason we need more vaccine faster, and we need to get it out the moment it shows up,” he said. “We will use and deploy every vaccine dose we are given.”
For more information about vaccination sites in Miami-Dade County, click here.
To schedule an appointment at Baptist Health, click here.
Appointments at Memorial Healthcare locations were filled as of Thursday night, but more slots are expected to open up once they receive another shipment of the vaccine. For more information, click here.
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