Jackson Health System announced today that it is ending its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, five months after it began administering the shots to some of the most vulnerable members of the community.
Jackson, Miami-Dade's public hospital system, cited decreasing demand for the vaccine. To date, the hospital system has vaccinated more than 167,000 people.
The first COVID vaccine in Miami-Dade County was administered at Jackson Memorial Hospital on December 15, 2020. It has been one of the most ambitious public health projects in Jackson’s modern history, and also among the most satisfying for our team of caregivers. pic.twitter.com/OfT982qF1H— Jackson Health System (@JacksonHealth) April 21, 2021
The hospital says it has enough supplies to administer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine through April 30. Anyone who receives a shot at one of Jackson's three vaccination sites by April 30 is guaranteed a second dose by May 21.
Jackson said more collaboration between federal, state, and local entities in recent weeks has led to increased access to the vaccine at other locations in the area.
In the first months of public vaccination, Jackson was providing an overwhelming share of our community’s volume. Thankfully, coordination among federal, state, local, and private stakeholders has dramatically expanded access.— Jackson Health System (@JacksonHealth) April 21, 2021
Jackson is not finished with the pandemic. We're still dedicating substantial resources to treating COVID-positive patients in our hospitals, emergency departments, and clinics. Thank you all for your tireless support of our caregivers and programs during this unprecedented year.— Jackson Health System (@JacksonHealth) April 21, 2021
Vaccinations at Jackson remain available by appointment or walk-up through Friday, April 30.
The vaccine is being administered from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center at 1611 NW 12th Ave. in Miami, at the North Dade Health Center at 16555 NW 25th Ave. in Miami Gardens, and at the Jackson South Medical Center at 9333 SW 152nd St. in Kendall.
Over the past several months, Jackson has led the way in vaccinating minority communities. According to the hospital's figures, 15 percent of those it has vaccinated are Black, while 54 percent are Latino.
Dwight Bullard, president of the South Dade branch of the NAACP, tells New Times that Jackson's vaccination sites have served as a boon for the Black community, and he hopes the hospital will reconsider its decision and offer vaccines for a while longer.
Bullard says the hospital is seen as a credible institution for Miami's Black community, where some folks are skeptical of vaccines.
"Jackson is the social safety net hospital for the county, including its branch in South Dade. Jackson, as a brand, is a notable validator for a community still skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccinations," Bullard says.
Some challenges with the vaccine rollout have already created tension among Miami's most vulnerable Black populations, according to Bullard. Accusations that Gov. Ron DeSantis was giving political donors priority access to vaccines, and CVS's decision to first push vaccine distribution at primarily Hispanic stores, such as Navarro and CVS Pharmacy y más, rather than stores that serve Black communities, have made some residents even more skeptical of vaccine programs. Bullard says the NAACP has worked to ease that tension and encourage the community to get vaccinated, but the news that Jackson is discontinuing vaccines may deal another blow.
"It would be my hope that Jackson sticks around until we reach the finish line," Bullard says. "You're seeing a decrease in demand, but I would argue that there are definitive pockets in the Black community and Black immigrant community that have been leery and still haven't been vaccinated."
Other initiatives to vaccinate minority populations in Miami have cropped up in recent days. The Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP recently announced a partnership with CVS drugstores to increase vaccinations in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
The CVS pop-up sites are located at the YMCA Village of Allapattah Family Center and at Charles Hadley Park. Appointments are required at the CVS sites and can be secured by calling 855-287-6789.
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