MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thursday marks one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic.
A year ago, we were bracing for closures and cancellations. Today people are lining up to get a vaccine in the fight against the virus.
READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In South Florida
On Thursday, two new satellite FEMA-supported vaccination sites will open in Miami Springs and North Miami Beach. The sites replace former pop-up sites in Florida City and Sweetwater which saw their last vaccinations on Wednesday.
Miami Springs City Manager William Alonso expects a busy day at the Miami Springs Community Center where people are lined up to get a shot.
“We’re getting 500 per day. Sometimes, we’ll get more than that,” he said.
The second pop-up site is at the Allen Park Community Center on 162 Street in North Miami Beach.
The sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will serve as vaccine location until March 17.
No appointment is necessary. Only those eligible by state orders can get a vaccine – no exceptions.
“We’ve already been told by FEMA and by state officials that they are going to follow the governor’s orders,” said Alonso.
The governor’s criteria on who can get the vaccine includes anyone 65 and older, law enforcement and firefighters 50 and older, all teachers and childcare workers, and people 18 and older with a medical condition who bring a doctor’s note or a signed Department of Health form.
It’s possible both places could see a crush of people like at the site at Miami Dade College’s North Campus, where there was confusion at the beginning of the week.
On Tuesday, word spread that the staff was inoculating anyone who was at least 18 years of age and had a driver’s license. That night the site was forced to shut down nearly two hours early due to high demand.
FEMA Master Public Information Officer Mike Jachles thinks he knows how that started, saying, “Somebody managed to beat the system and get a vaccine. They’re going to tell their friends and their friends are going to tell their friends and the next thing we know, we have a lot of people that don’t meet the criteria.”
As a result, people lined up early Wednesday in the dark creating traffic chaos. However, it was announced that the site would be enforcing the state rules.
Some people waited in line for more than 10 hours.
Adrian Hernandez and his wife were two of them. They, along with a large group of people who also didn’t meet the state’s criteria for eligibility, loitered around the entrance to the vaccine tents, hoping there would be some leftover vaccine. The wait was to no avail.
The MDC site is open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. No appointments are needed.