MIAMI – Health authorities began administering COVID-19 vaccinations for all adults in Florida on Monday amid a huge crush of mainly young adults, EFE verified at one of the biggest immunization centers in Miami.
Before sunrise, there was already a long line of automobiles with people ready to get immunized at the drive-thru center set up on the north campus of Miami Dade College (MDC), a center administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the largest in South Florida.
Between 250 and 300 automobiles, most of them containing people around 30-40 years of age, EFE noted, were on hand for their shots during the early hours of the center’s operation on Monday.
According to figures provided by the Florida Department of Health, the age group experiencing the most COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic is the 25-34-year-old cohort, where more than 362,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed among the two million people who have been tested since March 1 in Florida.
Starting on April 6, the MDC vaccination center will only be offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will be able to administer 3,000 doses each day, according to a message posted by FEMA on Twitter.
In addition, FEMA has other vaccination centers in Miami, Orlando and Tampa where the Pfizer vaccine – a two-dose regimen – will be offered to people age 16 and older.
President Joe Biden has set July 4 as the date for turning the corner on the pandemic, which hit the US during the first quarter of last year.
In terms of deaths caused by COVID-19, the US leads the world with more than 555,000 fatalities among the 30.7 million cases confirmed since 2020.
Brazil is in the No. 2 spot with 12.9 million confirmed cases and more than 331,000 deaths, according to the independent tally being kept by the Johns Hopkins University.
Within the US, Florida is the No. 3 state in terms of infections with more than two million and is No. 4 in terms of deaths with some 34,000.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has elected to focus on getting tourists back to Florida after that sector of the state’s economy took a massive hit because of the pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions, is against any restrictions of activities in the Sunshine State or measures such as the obligatory use of face masks to limit the spread of the virus.
He is putting all his chips on the state’s vaccination campaign as the means to control the virus in Florida.
As of Monday, 9.7 million doses of vaccine had been administered in Florida – 6.3 million first doses and 3.4 million second doses – according to state Department of Health figures.
Florida’s population stands at more than 21 million at present.
The vaccination campaign was launched in Florida last December and initially front-line health care workers in daily contact with COVID-19 patients were prioritized along with adults over age 65, both those living in elderly care facilities as well as in private homes. Over time, however, DeSantis has expanded the eligibility requirements for the vaccine.