Broward Health expands COVID vaccine criteria to include people 18 and older in ‘increased risk groups’ amid rollout – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Broward Health has made access to the COVID-19 vaccine available to all adult patients with underlying conditions.

Officials with the public hospital system announced Friday they will be expanding the criteria for vaccination to include anyone 18 years or older who falls under what they described as “increased risk groups.”

Patients with the following medical conditions will be allowed to make an appointment:

  • asthma (moderate to severe)
  • cancer
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • cystic fibrosis
  • Down syndrome
  • heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
  • hypertension or high blood pressure
  • immunocompromised state from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of weakening medicines or solid organ transplant
  • liver disease
  • neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • overweight or obese (body mass index of greater than 25)
  • pregnancy
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • sickle cell disease
  • smoking
  • thalassemia
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

This important expansion comes as a third COVID vaccine could be days away from arriving in the Sunshine State. On Friday, a Food and Drug Administration panel of advisers voted unanimously to approve the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine with final emergency approval expected soon. The company said, once the federal government gives it the green light, millions of doses will be ready for shipment as early as next week.

Broward Health COVID-19 vaccine appointment requests were made available Friday afternoon but have since filled up and are suspended. As of Saturday, there is no word as to when more appointment slots will open. Officials encourage people to check back periodically for updates.

In another sign the vaccine rollout is going into high gear across South Florida, all Publix pharmacies in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, nearly 140 locations, will begin offering the vaccine by appointment only, starting Monday.

Registration for the Publix appointments started Friday morning and filled up within two hours.

A spokesperson for the supermarket chain said they will schedule appointments starting at 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays depending on vaccine availability.

The grocery stores are joining a growing list of South Florida pharmacies that offer the vaccine.

All Navarro Discount Pharmacies and CVS y más stories in Miami-Dade are currently offering shots to seniors.

As part of an ongoing federal program, Miami Dade College North Campus will become a mass vaccination site capable of administering thousands of doses a day, starting Wednesday.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the clock is ticking to get more shots into arms.

“Over the last few weeks, cases and hospital admissions in the United States have been coming down since early January, and deaths have been declining in the past week,” she said, “but the latest data suggests that these declines may be stalling, potentially leveling off at still a very high number. We at CDC consider this a very concerning shift in the trajectory.”

To check for appointment availability, click here.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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