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State Adds Pharmacy Sites In South Florida For COVID-19 Vaccinations, Plus Registration For Homebound Veterans

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Tequesta Fire Department on January 15, 2021 in Tequesta, Florida. The city received 50 doses. There are 1600 residents that are 65 and older. The online appointments were taken in under three minutes.
The Palm Beach Post
Florida is adding more COVID-19 vaccination sites at retail pharmacies, including CVS, CVS y más and Navarro Discount Pharmacies.

Several CVS pharmacies in South Florida will start offering COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older this week. These are part of the federal government’s partnership with states.

In Miami-Dade County, 31 Navarro Discount stores, 35 CVS y más locations and one traditional CVS store. Appointments will open this week. In Broward and Palm Beach counties, vaccine appointments will be available at some CVS stores.

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Each site will aim to offer more than 100 shots a day, said Gov. Ron DeSantis at a Tuesday press conference at a Navarro Discount Pharmacy store in Hialeah.

“The retail pharmacies have been a key component of getting shots in the arms of seniors,” said DeSantis, adding that Palm Beach County has vaccinated a larger percentage of its 65 and older population because it’s had more than 60 Publix pharmacies offering vaccinations. “I think this is really, really significant in increasing those numbers in Dade very quickly.”

In Florida, 52 counties out of 67 have a retail pharmacy option for a vaccine.

"We are very happy that we're going to have some federally supported sites, including one in Miami-Dade County," said DeSantis. "This is coming in with federal resources. We have to basically manage it at the state level but they're going to put additional doses, above and beyond the state's allotment. These are tens of thousands of doses in a given week. So we're excited about that."

DeSantis also mentioned that some of the CVS pharmacies are in underserved neighborhoods.

"It is our responsibility and mission to make sure that vaccinations get distributed to those who need it most, to those who are most vulnerable," said Ahmed Valez, a regional director at CVS, CVS y más and Navarro Discount. "One of our greatest strengths as a company is our presence in the community."

According to Becker's Hospital Review, Florida ranks 23 out of all the states, ranked by the percentage of COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered, out of those distributed to them. You can find the state's latest vaccination report here.

DeSantis said because of these extra vaccine doses, while all the sites will be available to seniors, "the federal supported sites, as long as it works out to where the doses will be allowed for this, we want that to be open not just to seniors but to sworn law enforcement and to classroom teachers. We'll start probably [age] 50 and up for the police and classroom teachers," added DeSantis, noting that fire fighters will also be included.

The state is currently getting information from police departments about how many officers aged 50 and older want to get vaccinated. In Miami-Dade, that site will be at Miami Dade College's North Campus. You can find more information here.

The state also has a program to vaccinate homebound seniors, first announced at a Feb. 4 press conference in Aventura. The program began with vaccinating Holocaust survivors. The state identified 750 Holocaust survivors and spouses eligible for the vaccine in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Martin counties, as per Samantha Bequer, press secretary at the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

At Tuesday's press conference in Hialeah, DeSantis said the state has vaccinated more than 1,300 homebound seniors.

Recently, DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs to offer the vaccine to homebound veterans of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, World War II and the Korean War.

Homebound veterans can submit their contact information here in order to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Under Executive Order 20-315, only hospital providers may vaccinate people who they determine are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, especially because of underlying medical conditions.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care, as well as Surfside and Miami Beach politics for the station. Contact Verónica at vzaragovia@wlrnnews.org
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