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Vaccination Efforts Get More Creative, And Convenient, Across Miami-Dade County

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Verónica Zaragovia
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava speaks at the opening of a short-term vaccination effort inside the Miami International Airport on May 10, 2021.

Florida needs to get many more people vaccinated in order to reach what’s called community immunity. So far, roughly 45% of people 16 and older have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot in the state.

If a majority of the population gets vaccinated, it will play a major role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Initiatives to expand access to the vaccines are underway in Miami-Dade County, with the goal of getting more shots in arms and making the process easier.

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Miami Beach, for instance, has been offering vaccinations to people at the city's convention center without appointments.

"Just come, walk up, take the vaccine," said Jerry Libbin, president and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. He stood near a generator on the site that preserves the Pfizer shots, since they need to be kept very cold. Most of the city's population of residents 65 and older have been vaccinated and now the city wants more younger people to get inoculated, too.

"We want to drive traffic, we want to encourage everybody to take the vaccine," Libbin said.

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Verónica Zaragovia
Jerry Libbin, president and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, shows the two cards that offer discounts or other incentives to people who get a COVID-19 vaccine at the city's Convention Center through May 31, 2021.

People who get their shot at the center through May 31 walk out with a card that’s good for discounts or free goods at venues around the city.

"We have flower shops, we have a pizza store, we have a women’s boutique," he said. "We're trying help, as the Chamber of Commerce, to drive traffic to the businesses as well. So this is a great way. It's a two-fer, to get yourself vaccinated, help out our community and have a great time."

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Some venues are giving away a drink, like Mango's Tropical Cafe on Ocean Drive or Taverna on Lincoln Road. Time Out Market is offering a 20% discount and Abbott Florist is giving away one bunch of flowers.

Miami-Dade County has another strategy underway. Offering vaccines at work, at places like PortMiami and Miami International Airport.

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Verónica Zaragovia
People who drive taxis from Miami International Airport line up for a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the parking lot on May 10, 2021.

People who work as taxi drivers lined up Monday for their first Pfizer shot at an airport parking lot.

Taxi driver Tony Brutus got his first dose after he had tried to get inoculated at two other places before — one was closed, another ran out of shots.

"I’m happy they come here today and take it," he said. "I just park my taxi and I just walk and get the shot and go play dominos with my coworker."

Actually, the taxi drivers won’t let you near the domino tables if you haven’t gotten vaccinated. Another incentive — this one from drivers themselves.

Vaccine Guidelines