Miami-Dade mayor receives COVID-19 vaccine, pleads with governor to reduce age eligibility

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has received the COVID-19 vaccine at Tropical Park.

The 65-year-old tested positive back for the virus in November and said she waited at least 90 days and until there was ample supply to get her shot.

“I feel great. I feel great. I’m so happy, finally, to get the vaccine,” she said. “Honestly, I’m about to cry. I feel– this whole year that has been so difficult for so many, and this is our lifeline. This is our path back to living.”

As sites like the one at Tropical Park continue to operate, others are closing. The FEMA-supported satellite site at Allen Park Community Center in North Miami Beach and the walk-up site at the Miami Springs Community Center shut down at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but they will reopen in a few weeks to offer second doses.

Starting Thursday, two new vaccination locations — one at Charles Hadley Park in Miami and the other at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay — will open up. The site at Charles Hadley Park will offer first doses until next Tuesday.

Levine Cava said she is pushing to expand eligibility for the vaccine, as she wants more people to receive it.

“We are coordinating daily with FEMA,” Levine Cava said. “We are coordinating daily with the state, and we are helping to identify the sites where the highest vulnerability index exists.”

She said she has written a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to lower the age requirement by 10 years every week. The governor said he believes by the end of March, all Florida residents 55 years old and over will be allowed to receive the vaccine.

“I’m not going to announce yet, but we definitely will lower to 55 sometime in March,” DeSantis said. “I think we can get that done, even at the current stagnant supply. We’re looking at the demands.”

DeSantis also echoed the advice from top U.S. scientists who said the best vaccine for people to receive is the first one available to them.

“If you’ve been waiting for [Johnson & Johnson] and you have the opportunity to get a Pfizer or Moderna, I recommend getting the Pfizer or the Moderna if you can do it because I can’t guarantee you J&J’s going to be available next week or the week after,” he said.

Over in Broward County, a new site opened on Wednesday.

The Department of Health will vaccinate those eligible at Pompano City Centre every day of the week, except Thursdays and Sundays.

“I feel like a more relief,” said Meire Barbosa, who received the vaccine. “I feel better going outside without the chance to get the COVID.”

On Wednesday, the White House COVID-19 Response Team promised to send funds to schools across the U.S. to help reopen safely.

“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to distribute $10 million to support COVID-19 testing in schools across our country,” Carole Johnson, the White House COVID-19 Testing Coordinator, said. “With this funding for testing, every state in America will have access to millions of dollars to set up screening and testing programs to add a layer of protection for schools, teachers and students.”

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