It’s game on for South Florida’s COVID-19 vaccination effort, as two major sports stadiums are being transitioned to mass vaccination sites.
On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football teams, is working on getting those vaccine shots to South Floridians.
“We announced on Monday that we were going to be converting drive-thru test sites into vaccination sites,” DeSantis said at a Wednesday news conference outside the stadium.
“Hard Rock Stadium will be one of those sites. What they have set up is a soft opening to make sure that things are working well. So they’re doing two lanes of cars through for the vaccinations, and that’s going to be the case for the next couple of days.”
The Governor said that push would eventually be expanded, with a target minimum of 1,000 shots per day. The site is the first in the region to offer drive-thru vaccination services.
With the COVID-19 vaccination pace falling short of end-of-year targets, health experts began calling for “mass vaccination events” to help expedite the process.
“We need to use the parking lots of baseball stadiums. We need drive-through events. We need arenas,” urged Dr. Jonathan Reiner late last month. Reiner is a leading cardiologist who has treated Vice President Dick Cheney.
“We need to take the vaccine into the community. Telling people just to go to your nearest store isn’t going to get us where we need to be.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava sent a similar message Wednesday, as she spoke alongside DeSantis.
“It is truly all hands on deck to get these shots in people’s arms as fast as possible, because getting these vaccines into the community is the best way to protect the most vulnerable and fast forward us toward the end of this pandemic and the restoration of our economy,” Levine Cava said.
“Until we contain this pandemic, we cannot move forward fully with our economy.”