MIAMI (CBSMiami) – By lunchtime on Thursday, close to 1,000 people had received their coronavirus vaccine at Miami-Dade College’s North Campus.
The FEMA funded, state run site had seen long lines and confusion over who can get the vaccine, but on Thursday it ran a bit smoother with a turnaround time of about an hour for people eligible to get the shot.READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In South Florida
“Staff has worked diligently to enhance the traffic flow and get the vehicles off on Northwest 27th Avenue,” said Mike Jachles, a spokesperson for the site with the Florida Public Information Officers Deployment Team.
To help fight the traffic, Miami-Dade Police opened the gates to the site two hours before vaccinations started. Staff on Thursday morning also screened people as they drove in and turned around anyone who was ineligible for the vaccine before they parked.
“The process was seamless. Before I knew it, it was over and done,” said Francis Ragoo, who showed up at midnight to be the first in line. “When I came by the day before at 5 a.m., the line was two miles long.”
The seamless process on Thursday came after a few hiccups earlier in the week when staff seemed to ignore state guidelines and vaccinated people who were not eligible to get the shot. The unofficial move caused chaos and confusion on Wednesday when hundreds of ineligible people showed up wanting to get their vaccine.
“The executive order and directive have been in effect. We just reinforced that. It’s obvious that people are aware of that now,” said Jachles outside the MDC site on Thursday morning.
Along with the FEMA funded site at Miami-Dade College, two new smaller federally funded sites opened Thursday morning:
- Miami Springs Community Center at 1401 Westward Drive, Miami Springs, FL 33166
- Allen Park Community Center at 1770 Northeast 162 Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33162
The pop-up sites are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 17 and replace the ones in Florida City and Sweetwater. No appointment is necessary, but vaccines are only for eligible people.
“The intent of the mobile sites is to bring the vaccines to the neighborhoods who need it most,” said Jachles.
The governor’s criteria on who can get the vaccine includes anyone 65 and older, law enforcement and firefighters 50 and older, all teachers and childcare workers, and people 18 and older with a medical condition who bring a doctor’s note or a signed Department of Health form.
Starting March 15, people 60 to 64 will also be allowed to get the vaccine, per the governor’s executive order.
On Thursday morning, Jachles said a hard copy of a doctor’s note or DOH form is best, but an electronic copy will also be accepted at federally funded sites.
“People should know that when they are coming here, they are considered a patient. So their patient information is part of their medical record that is securely stored. It is scanned into the state database for the shots, so we know who received what shots when,” said Jachles. “That’s part of your medical record. It has to be safeguarded in compliance with the HIPAA regulations.”MORE NEWS: Miami Dade College North Campus COVID Vaccination Site Enforcing State Eligibility Guidelines
The MDC North Campus site is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No appointments are needed and walk-ups are accepted.