More vaccine sites open across South Florida as demand to get inoculated remains high

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Additional vaccination sites continue to open across South Florida as thousands of seniors 65 and older try to snag appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday, the Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs joined the growing list of locations across South Florida offering the COVID-19 vaccine to seniors 65 and older with an appointment.

“Very smooth, Broward Health did a great job. That process was really easy,” said Howard Friedman, who brought his mother to get vaccinated. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, but I feel extremely relieved.”

“It went pretty fast and for that, it was OK,” said Rosele Friedman after getting vaccinated.

“I just didn’t want to land in a hospital with the COVID,” said Marion Shearer after receiving the vaccine. “We didn’t even have time to sit down, they called us and everything went very smoothly.”

Also on Wednesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava stopped by the vaccine distribution site at Tropical Park. Cava said approximately 80,000 people in Miami-Dade County have been vaccinated so far.

“We need more vaccines,” Cava said. “We need more sites, we need more vaccines. The demand is phenomenal. People are ready. People are ready to get on with their lives.”

“My mother passed away in July of COVID, so as soon as we could get a vaccine we wanted to get it,” said Mirta Schmidt as she waited in line to get vaccinated.

Geronimo Schmidt received his first dose of the vaccine over the weekend, but the couple had to wait until Thursday morning for Mirta’s appointment.

“The shot was OK,” said Geronimo. “I had no reactions to it, so everything was fine.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is attempting to speed up distribution by creating more vaccination sites by partnering with Publix Supermarket, but no South Florida locations will offer the vaccine at this time.

Levine Cava also announced another vaccination site will soon open at Zoo Miami in Southwest Miami-Dade. It is expected to open later this week and will see seniors by appointment only.

“There will not be testing there, so there will be one way in and one way out,” she said. “We are trying our best to get this distribution going by coordinating across all the different sites and all the different organizations doing distribution.”

One day prior, Broward Health started distributing vaccines at the Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Officials at Broward Health plan on administering 500 doses a day at the soccer stadium. Vaccines are being administered only to those who have a scheduled appointment.

Meanwhile, Florida International University has started to vaccinate faculty members who meet vaccine qualifications.

Also, assisted living facilities in Florida are a priority to receive COVID-19 vaccines across the state.

Lee Brimack, 94, received her inoculation at Palace Renaissance & Royale in Miami.

“I was really waiting for this, and now, I’m so happy that I have it,” Brimack said. “Now, I’ll be able to move around and go wherever I want.”

While some seniors were able to roll up their sleeves and get their first dose of the vaccine, getting an appointment for many others still remains an issue.

Cava said local leaders are working to get the medication, but it can’t come soon enough.

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

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