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South Florida Hospitals Begin Inoculating People, But Getting Appointments Requires Patience

Image: VA VAntage Point blog
Image: VA VAntage Point blog

Vaccinations for the public are now underway through two hospital companies in South Florida and for specific people.

Vaccinations for the public are now underway through hospitals in the region.

Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach is accepting people who are 75 and older for COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Sooner or later, as other hospitals in the community follow our lead, then we’re gonna drop down to 65 years of age and above," said Mount Sinai president and chief executive officer Steven Sonenreich.

The hospital has both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines but people can't choose which one they get. They also must have government-issued identification, but they don't need to live in Miami-Beach.

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Mount Sinai will call people after their first vaccination to then schedule the booster shot.

Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale starts Wednesday with people 65 and older, as well as health care providers and their staff, including physical therapists, speech pathologists, dentists and also EMS workers. People will get the Moderna vaccine and only need proof of age to qualify. They will not be asked about their place of residence or citizenship status.

"This is the only way we are going to ever get over this pandemic and to have a sense of normalcy that we had prior to this virus ravaging our community," said Dr. Aldo Calvo, the medical director for ambulatory services at Broward Health.

Calvo urges people to be patient in trying to get through to make the appointments. Broward will schedule both appointments for the vaccination and the booster shot, which comes 28 days later, at once.

"I’m happy to know that there’s a lot of interest. We expected it, but again I’m gonna ask the public to have just a little bit of patience with us," Calvo said, adding that they hospital wants to add staffing to help with answering the line and making it easy to get an appointment.

The Moderna messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech, does not need to be stored in an ultra cold freezer. That will help the logistics in vaccinating the public, he added. The Moderna vaccine has proven to be almost 95 percent effective in producing antibodies that fight off this coronavirus.

"This vaccine is great for rural areas or for doing community sites like we're doing [Wednesday]," Calvo said. "Science has brought forth hope. I don't want the public to be shy or scared of the vaccine. This COVID-19 vaccine is that hope in a little vial."

Side effects include arm soreness or a slight fever.

"If anyone out there has the opportunity to get vaccinated, please get vaccinated," Sonenreich said.

For an appointment at Broward Health, call 954-759-7500 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To reach Mount Sinai, call 305-674-2312 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The appointment line will be closed on New Year’s Day.

Both hospitals require appointments and masks.

Vaccine Guidelines