MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Jackson Memorial Hospital opened its website portal on Tuesday for the general public who are 65 years old and up to make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the site was quickly overwhelmed.
“We will have 2,000 daily appointments for vaccinations. The intent is to vaccinate 14,000 people a week which is the current allocation that we have from the state,” said Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya during a news conference on Monday afternoon with Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The website went live earlier than planned. It was originally set to go live at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Those who logged on early got appointments. Those who logged on at 11 a.m. did not which was frustrating to many people.
— Bonnie Laden (@BonnieLaden) January 5, 2021
According to the website, they “booked more than 12,000 vaccine appointments,” filling all slots and are not taking any new appointments. They suggest returning to the website routinely for ongoing updates as they receive additional vaccines.
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Once a person is registered, they will receive a call back with an appointment date and time.
No proof of residency is required, which means you do not need to live in Miami-Dade to get the vaccine.
Migoya said there are big plans with the website.
“We feel within 2 to 3 weeks we can gear this up to 60 to 75,000 people a week and if we do that we will vaccinate 60 percent of over those 65 in Miami-Dade County where there happen to be a total of 465,000 people in that age group and we hope to take care of them by the end of January, early February and then open it up to the next level of patients.”
It’s the next step in trying to curb cases of the coronavirus.
“The focus here has been health care workers and those older than 65. Once we help everyone there we can open it up to the next high risk part of the population and go forward,” said Migoya. “We are giving vaccines out fast and if we get it we will not held back as the supply is coming. We have already vaccinated 20,000 health care workers.”
Scheduled vaccinations will take place at three locations:
- Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center, 1611 NW 12th Ave., Miami
- North Dade Health Center, 16555 NW 25th Ave., Miami Gardens
- Jackson South Medical Center, 9333 SW 152nd St., Southwest Miami-Dade
All three sites will be open seven days a week.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also spoke at Monday’s news conference saying the County is preparing to offer COVID vaccines to all public housing residents aged 65 and over.
She is holding a news conference on Tuesday afternoon to release more information about the County’s vaccination plans.
You can watch that news conference live right here on CBSMiami.com.
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Meantime, as seniors lined up at coronavirus vaccination sites across South Florida and other parts of the state, frustrations are mounting over crashing appointment websites, and jammed phone lines.
In response, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned hospitals against stockpiling vaccinations and urged them to work more quickly to administer vaccines to Floridians who are 65 and older. DeSantis promised he would strip allotments from hospitals that don’t use them quickly enough and shift the doses to other health-care providers.
He also outlined several other steps the state plans to take to amplify vaccination efforts, including converting state-run testing sites into vaccination centers, having the state hire 1,000 extra nurses to administer shots and using churches as part of an effort to target underserved communities. DeSantis also said sites that provide vaccinations should do it seven days a week.
Under DeSantis’ lead, Florida has parted from federal guidelines on how to use the vaccines.
On Dec. 23, the governor issued an executive order that made people 65 and older a priority for vaccinations, as opposed to “essential” workers such as teachers, first responders and grocery-store employees.
Florida has one of the nation’s oldest populations with 4.4 million of the state’s 21 million people 65 years or older, which drives up the demand for vaccinations. But DeSantis defended the decision to move away from the federal guidelines, which also included vaccinating people 75 and older.
As of Monday, more than 260,000 Floridians had been vaccinated, most of them health care workers and first responders — although an increasing number are seniors 65 years and older.
The state has received more than 960,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — which means that 700,000 doses are sitting in freezers waiting to be injected into the arms of Floridians.
Both vaccines require two doses — an initial inoculation and a booster shot weeks later. Some hospitals, out of caution, may be reluctant to immediately use their entire stockpile because of uncertainty over the future supply of the vaccines.
About 83% of those who have died from the disease in Florida have been older than 65.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)