MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – State and county leaders are taking measures to ensure those who qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine can begin receiving their doses as soon as possible.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis underscored the severity of the situation during a news conference held Thursday.
“Twenty-six percent of Florida’s population is over the age of 65,” he said. “These are somebody’s grandmother. These are somebody’s aunt, their uncle.”
State leaders believe Florida should be a national priority when it comes to distributing the vaccines.
Patronis said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office is doing everything possible to secure more medication.
“We’re doing everything we can to turn up the heat,” he said.
On Thursday, the state reported 12,873 new cases of the virus and a positivity rate of 8.5%.
With infections still on the rise, the Miami Dade County Commission passed a resolution pressuring state leaders to make the vaccine eligible to teachers, first responders and others.
“I simply ask our governor to please add on the next round of vaccinations for our teachers, our law enforcement officers and our other frontline workers to be prioritized for the vaccination,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins.
Talk of widening accessibility comes at a time when there’s a national shortage of the vaccine.
Baptist Health and Mount Sinai hospitals have cancelled vaccination appointments to ensire they have enough second doses for those who need the booster shot.
Patronis said supply should start to increase, though it will take time.
“I got a report earlier today that Moderna is anticipated by the first week of March to have up to 100 million units produced,” he said.
The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday that the vaccine will only be available to full-time and seasonal Florida residents, with some exceptions.
In the meantime, sites across Miami-Dade, like Hard Rock Stadium and Marlins Park, continue to vaccinate thousands of people daily.
In Broward County, those looking to receive the vaccine through the Department of Health will now have to call to make an appointment.
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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