COVID-19 vaccines are now available in South Florida, and the rules on who can get a shot, where and when can be confusing.
Here’s what you need to know:
What’s new today?
▪ Organizers of the three-day vaccine distribution event last month in Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County were focused on more than shots, text messages between them and the governor’s office show. Those tasked with putting it together were also focused on how it might prop Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of a 2022 campaign.
▪ The federally supported vaccination site at Miami Dade College North campus appears to have pivoted from state guidelines early Tuesday and begun offering vaccinations to many Floridians 18 and older who did not meet the governor’s eligibility criteria.
▪ Anyone 16 and older who has a medical condition that makes them high risk for COVID-19 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine through Jackson Health System. Jackson has also eliminated most of the paperwork requirements. Anyone who has consulted a physician for any medical condition deemed to put them at risk could qualify for the vaccine. To check for available appointments, visit https://jacksonhealth.org/keeping-you-safe/
▪ Starting March 15, any Floridian 60 and older will be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday, an expansion of the previous cutoff of 65. DeSantis said he lowered the age because there has been less demand among seniors.
▪ Every vaccination site in South Florida has a different way of handling leftover vaccine doses. The Miami Herald answered some questions about how extra doses are given.
▪ Anyone who has received both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot can gather indoors two weeks after completing the series with other fully vaccinated individuals without masks or social distancing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday. Fully vaccinated people should still wear masks and social distance when out in public, the guidance reads.
Who can get COVID-19 vaccines in Florida and who cannot? Do you need proof of residency?
Florida is giving vaccines to healthcare workers, long-term care residents and staff and people 65 and older. Sworn law enforcement, firefighters and K-12 school personnel ages 50 and older are also eligible for the vaccine. Anyone under 65 who a physician determines is “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 because of a preexisting medical condition can also get the vaccine through hospitals, doctor offices and pharmacies.
Keep in mind that people with high-risk conditions will need their physician to sign an “at-risk” form before they can get the vaccine. The form can be downloaded at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/. Some hospitals may not accept the form because they have their own system in place or have additional requirements.
It’s also worth noting that pre-k-12 school personnel and childcare workers can also get the vaccine at federal-run sites and pharmacies across the state.
Only Florida residents and snowbirds can get the vaccine, but there is no county residency requirement in place. This means that if you live in Miami-Dade, you can get the vaccine in Broward, or vice versa. You will need to show proof of Florida residency.
For snowbirds or part-time residents, the proof needs to be in the form of two documents such as a lease agreement and a utility bill no more than two months old, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Anyone else who lives in another state or country can no longer get the vaccine in Florida. Nonresidents who have already received the first dose in Florida will still be able to get the second dose.
The change was made to curb vaccine tourism, or people who travel from another state or country to get the vaccine in Miami or another part of the state.
Who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?
People who have had a severe allergic reaction to ingredients in the vaccine or had a severe reaction after a previous dose. Ingredients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be found on FDA.gov.
How many people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida?
According to the state’s Monday COVID-19 vaccine report, 12,875 people have completed the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine and 1,946,615 people have completed the two-dose series of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
Of those who have been fully vaccinated, 420,198 were Miami-Dade residents, 310,804 were Broward residents, 303,065 were Palm Beach residents and 13,586 were Monroe residents.
What COVID-19 vaccines are available in Florida? How many doses do I need?
Florida has three vaccines available: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots, three weeks apart, and can be given to people 16 and older. Moderna’s vaccine requires two shots, one month apart, and can be given to people 18 and older. Neither vaccine will give you COVID-19. Johnson & Johnson’s is a single dose and can be given to people 18 and older.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not interchangeable, however, which means that if your first shot was the Pfizer vaccine, your second shot cannot be the Moderna vaccine, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 vaccination sites in South Florida?
The following pharmacies offer COVID-19 vaccines in select stores by appointment-only:
▪ Select Publix stores in Florida offer vaccines, although the website frequently says appointments are “fully booked.” Visit publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida.
▪ Navarro Discount Pharmacies and CVS y más stores in Miami-Dade. Some traditional CVS stores across Florida also have doses. To check for availability, visit CVS.com or call customer service at 800-746-7287.
▪ Some Walmart and Sam’s Club stores offer vaccines, including in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Walmart, visit walmart.com/COVIDvaccine. For Sam’s Clubs, visit samsclub.com/covid.
▪ Some Walgreens stores in other parts of the state will have vaccines. To check for availability visit https://www.walgreens.com/topic/promotion/covid-vaccine.jsp
Federally supported site in Miami-Dade
▪ Miami Dade College North campus is the first federally supported vaccination site to open in South Florida. Appointments are not required, but they are recommended. The site is open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is a walk-up, which means people wait in line instead of in their car. Anyone who would prefer to book an appointment, visit myvaccine.fl.gov.
Anyone who lives in Florida and falls under the state’s vaccine criteria can get the vaccine at MDC North. This includes people with at risk conditions who have an “at risk” form signed by their physician. A doctor’s note is also accepted. Pre-K-12th grade school employees and childcare workers can also get the vaccine.
There are also two temporary federally run “satellite” sites:
▪ Ronselli Park Youth Center, at 250 SW 114th Ave., in Sweetwater — No appointment required. The site is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 10, which is when it will move elsewhere.
▪ Florida City Youth Activity Center, at 650 NW Fifth Ave. No appointment required. The site is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 10, which is when it will move elsewhere.
Preregister for an appointment in Miami-Dade and Broward counties
Seniors 65 and older, healthcare workers with direct patient contact, and people deemed by their physician to be “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 can preregister for an appointment in Florida through a statewide website and phone system. K-12 school personnel, sworn law enforcement and firefighters ages 50 and older are also eligible. Long-term care residents and staff can preregister, too.
Anyone who preregisters for a vaccine appointment will be notified when slots become available at state-supported or federally supported vaccination sites in their county, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is tasked with the state’s vaccine distribution. Once you get an appointment, you will need to show proof that you are a Florida resident.
State-run sites in Miami-Dade County include Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and Marlins Park in Miami. Also recently added: a parking lot-turned-vaccine site at 1551 NW First Ave., near Miami’s Overtown area; and Oak Grove Park community center, 690 NE 159th St.
State-run sites in Broward County include Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs, Markham Park in Sunrise, Tree Tops Park in Davie, Trade Winds Park in Coconut Creek and Central Regional Park in Lauderhill, and Broward College’s Coconut Creek campus.
Keep in mind that people under 65 with at risk medical conditions cannot get vaccinated at state-run sites. Those who register through the statewide system will receive an appointment for places like MDC North, which is federally supported.
Florida residents who do not meet the priority criteria can also sign up to receive email updates to learn when they will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
Hospitals and other COVID-19 vaccination sites in Miami-Dade, Broward
The county has a website, miamidade.gov/vaccine, where it posts updates on where seniors and eventually the rest of the general public, will be able to find and schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Seniors 65 and older, and healthcare workers with direct patient contact, can book a slot through the portal. So can K-12 school personnel, sworn law enforcement and firefighters ages 50 and older. Long-term care residents and staff can preregister, too.
County-run sites include Zoo Miami and Tropical Park. You can also call 305-614-2014 to preregister.
Florida residents who don’t qualify for the vaccine yet can also sign up through the website to be given updates on the county’s vaccination process.
Here are other places that have vaccines. Some locations may be vaccinating specific groups from Florida’s priority list so check the location’s website for details.
▪ Jackson Health System, the county’s public hospital network. To check for available appointments, visit https://jhsmiami.org/comvac/.
▪ Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach is no longer booking appointments and has canceled all first-dose appointments for Jan. 23 and later because of supply constraints. Second-dose appointments are not affected. To check for updates, visit msmc.com/coronavirus-update/
▪ Baptist Health, one of the county’s largest private hospitals, plans to resume vaccinations, but only for those who already had a canceled first-dose appointment from January. Everyone else still needs to wait. To check for updates, visit Baptisthealth.net/vaccine.
▪ Seniors 65 and older who seek care with Leon Medical Centers can call customer service at 305-642-5366 to schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If you need transportation, let the operator know so they can also schedule a driver to pick you up. Appointments will be scheduled until Leon runs out of vaccines.
▪ Walmart drive-thru vaccination clinic at 3001 N. State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes. Call 833-886-0023 to check for availability.
▪ Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale is offering COVID-19 vaccines to people under 65 who have certain medical conditions that make them at risk for severe COVID complications. Priority will be given to Holy Cross Medical Group patients, the hospital said. For details on how to request an appointment, visit www.holy-cross.com/covidvaccine.
▪ Broward Health, the hospital network, is offering appointments to seniors 65 and older, healthcare workers, emergency medical service providers and people 18 and older with certain at risk conditions. To check for appointments, visit https://www.browardhealth.org/pages/being-healthy-vaccine
Listen to today's top stories from the Miami Herald:
▪ Memorial Healthcare System ran out of COVID-19 vaccines. Once doses are available again, appointments can be made through the MyChart portal, https://mychart.mhs.net for current Memorial Healthcare patients. Others will have to call 954-276-4340.
The appointment-only vaccine locations listed in the website above are:
The Memorial Regional Conference Center, 3501 Johnson St. in Hollywood, noon to 7:30 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
Memorial Specialty Pharmacy, 9581 Premier Pkwy. in Miramar, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
▪ All Cleveland Clinic Florida locations, including its Weston campus, have run out of vaccination appointments for now. Cleveland Clinic said it will resume scheduling appointments through its website for current patients once it gets more doses. To check for slots, visit https://my.clevelandclinic.org/landing/covid-19-vaccine/florida
COVID-19 vaccines in Monroe County?
More places are offering the COVID-19 vaccine in the Florida Keys.
Eligible Florida residents can now get vaccinated at Winn-Dixie stores in Key West and Tavernier, and at all Publix stores along the island chain. Appointments are required.