NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout has resumed at federal vaccination sites in South Florida.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management confirmed on Saturday that sites would resume use of the one-dose shot. Each site will be able to administer 3,000 doses per day.
Starting at 7am Sunday, @FEMA supported site @MDCollege North joins the 3 other state sites offering the J & J #COVID19Vaccine again. No appointment needed. Bring Florida ID or proof of residency. https://t.co/91K0psYaiw
— PIO Mike Jachles (@PIOMikeJ) April 25, 2021
Sunday afternoon, 7News cameras captured patients as they stood in a quickly moving line at the site supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Miami Dade College’s North Campus in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Among them was Shirley Harrison, who wore a festive sparkly mask to mark the occasion.
“I want to be positive, not negative,” she said.
Harrison, who had planned to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson dose, ended up getting the Pfizer vaccine instead.
“I heard was going on, and I just changed my mind. I said, ‘I’ll do Pfizer,'” she said.
Late Friday, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted a 10-day pause on the Johnson & Johnson shot after 15 women, out of nearly 8 million who received the vaccine, developed blood clots.
A federal advisory panel decided the benefits far outweighed the risks.
At the MDC North site, 195 Johnson & Johnson doses were administered as of Sunday night, compared to roughly 427 first doses of Pfizer vaccines.
“The bottom line is, now you have options, you have choices, so you can get the Pfizer first-dose vaccine here at Miami Dade College North, or you can get the J&J vaccine,” said Mike Jachles with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “That’s an individual decision. If you have any conditions or any concerns, we urge you to speak to your health care provider first to see which vaccine is best suited for you.”
In a TV interview on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health, said the biggest issue now is vaccine hesitancy.
“We take safety really very seriously, and there was a pause, it was examined, and now we’re going ahead with it,” he said.
Jachles said the options are plentiful, and the safety information is out there.
“CDC.gov. Go to the authority, don’t take hearsay, don’t go on other social media sites,” he said. “Go to the authority, go to CDC, get the factual information.”
Patients at the MDC North site said getting inoculated is the sensible option.
“It’s just better to stay safe for, like, where we live,” said Isabella Marin.
“Right now, the problem that we have in the country, they believe it’s political stuff, which is completely wrong,” said Fredy Marin, “but I’m just living my life, and I’m doing my part.”
Fredy said he’s had relatives die of the disease, so now he is fully vaccinated.
“The COVID vaccine that we have is real. Even then, some people do not believe in that,” he said, “but I know it’s true.”
Isabella said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine news gave her pause.
“I’m perfectly fine getting Pfizer,” she said.
For Harrison, receiving the shot was a priority.
“I own my own [assisted living facility], and it’s good that you get the shot, because I’m dealing with a lot of elderly people, and we don’t know what can happen, so we both will be protected,” she said.
Patients who come to any of the federally supported sites in Florida will be given a fact sheet that explains the risks involved with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, especially for women under the age of 50.
The MDC North site is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week for anyone 18 or older with no appointment necessary. Sixteen and 17-year-olds are able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, but they need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian and bring proof that they are a parent or guardian.
For more information about vaccination sites in Florida, click here.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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