By Karli Barnett

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County is working to make getting the COVID vaccine more accessible.

On Tuesday, the county implemented a phone system to make an appointment, along with the online option.

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“We had about 800 phone appointments, and it was very efficient, because people called, their numbers are captured, and then an operator calls them back. So nobody has to wait on the line,” says Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Since not everyone has social media, Levine Cava says they are working through trusted community partners and churches to get the word out.

However, she still says they are in need of more supply to keep up with the demand.

“We need more from the federal government to come to Florida, and then we need more of it to come to Miami Dade,” Levine Cava says. “It’s not just on the basis of those over 65, it’s also on the basis of our high COVID rate.”

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Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statement, addressing the White House’s comment Monday that Florida has used only 50 percent of its supply, saying:

“The insinuation that Florida is underutilizing vaccines is totally disingenuous. Florida is number one in the country among the ten most populous states for vaccine doses per capita. Additionally, Florida is averaging more than 300,000 first doses per week, but we are not going to divert second doses away from our seniors.”

For those who do get the vaccine, infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty says after the first dose, people can generally expect a sore arm. The second dose may result in other side effects.

“These reactions can be fever, chills, a sense of malaise, which is a sense of the ‘I don’t feel goods,’” Dr. Marty explains. “This is not happening because you’re getting infected with anything. It’s happening because your immune system is working. It’s doing exactly what it has to do to produce the type of protection that you need.”

She says extreme allergic reactions that result in anaphylaxis are “extraordinarily rare.” However, she says they have trained personnel at the vaccine sites to handle that situation if it arises.

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You can make an appointment by calling (305) 614-2014 or go to miamidade.gov/vaccine.

Karli Barnett