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Dolphins Stadium Converting From COVID Testing Site To Vaccination Site

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida Governor's Office
The Florida Channel
DeSantis said the state will start slowly offering 1,000 vaccines per day at Hard Rock Stadium to avoid confusion and long lines.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said that residents over 65 should be soon able to receive a shot at Hard Rock Stadium and other large-scale venues.

Florida began converting one of its major testing sites - Hard Rock Stadium - into a vaccination site and Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that residents over 65 should be soon able to receive a shot at other large-scale venues.

DeSantis held a press conference at the Miami Dolphins stadium in Miami Gardens, which will be converted from a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site to a COVID-19 vaccination site. DeSantis said the state will start slowly offering 1,000 vaccines per day, to avoid confusion and long lines.

He called Wednesday a “soft opening” that will last a few days until the site opens to the regular public.

"This is yet another tool to be able to deliver a vaccine," DeSantis said.

The site will continue to provide testing while offering vaccinations.

The state’s vaccination efforts have been hampered by long lines, jammed phone systems and overwhelmed websites as Florida seniors scrambled to get inoculations from county health departments and hospitals.

DeSantis issued an executive order Dec. 23 that made people age 65 and older and health care providers who have direct contact with patients eligible for the vaccinations. There are 4.4 million people age 65 and older in Florida.

"We believe putting seniors first is the right policy as a matter of public health,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis has downplayed the distribution chaos but at the same time has worked to bolster the state’s current vaccination efforts, which rely largely on hospitals. County health departments also have been enlisted in the state plan.

The governor also appeared in Pensacola on Wednesday to tout the efforts of Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital and its goal to distribute 3,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine to people 65 and older by Thursday. The hospital is working with Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola and the Milton Community Center to meet the goal.

“You’re going to see this all over the state,” the governor said. “You’re going to see a lot of shots going into arms.”

More than 329,000 people have been vaccinated in Florida, almost all of them either health care workers, residents in care homes, or people over the age of 65.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.