Snowbirds vaccinated in Florida: "We're going to be hated, but we're not going to die"

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Émilie Dubreuil (access the author's page)

Florida is tightening the rules on its vaccination plan to prevent the state from becoming a vaccine tourism destination. However, snowbirds 65 and over who own a property there will still be able to get vaccinated there.

There is drive-thru for everything in Florida: burger, banking, coffee or margarita. Is it any wonder that the Florida state vaccination campaign is also taking place in a vehicle?

In a park near Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, hundreds of cars are waiting in single file to receive the vaccine. About one in ten cars has a license plate with the inscription I remember.

A white car parked near a vaccination center.

A vaccination center in the Fort Lauderdale area of ​​Florida.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

We are very happy! We will no longer be afraid. No longer afraid of dying from this said Francine, 70, through the lowered window of her car.

The air is warm and tender. The woman is well, visibly relieved. Francine and her husband Jacques have their permanent residence in the Laurentians. They prefer to keep their last names silent.

We will be hated by those around us in Quebec. But, in Quebec, we would not have had the vaccine for a long time.

Jacques, a Quebec snowbird

Make yourself hated? Yes. And not just in Quebec. Many Americans are against getting the vaccine here. There are quite a few articles on this in the newspapers , explains Francine.

Indeed, bickering between Canadian snowbirds and US residents in condominium complexes has made headlines in recent days. Florida politicians have also expressed their displeasure at the state becoming an antiviral tourist destination.

Francis Suarez wears a mask and speaks outside.

Francis Suarez is the mayor of the city of Miami.

Photo: Associated Press / Wilfredo Lee

Miami City Mayor Francis Suarez last week held a press conference to say the rules need to be changed to prevent people from coming from all over to get vaccinated in Florida, while in some parts of the state, citizens 65 and over must queue up endlessly and outsmart a convoluted system to gain access to the precious injection.

Changing the rules

Florida Governor Ron DeSentis said on Tuesday that the state was tightening the rules. From now on, the vaccination plan, which was until now accessible to vulnerable populations, i.e. people 65 years of age and over and health workers, whether or not they are residents of the State, will be reserved for permanent or semi-permanent citizens.

Four people in a car.

Quebecers who were vaccinated in Florida against COVID-19.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

So that includes Canadians who have an address here and spend the winter there to return to the north vaccinated and tanned in the spring.

This is the case with Francine and Jacques who bought a mobile home in Florida two years ago. They have proof of residence and are over 65 years old. That’s all it takes here to gain access to the passport to liberation: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Francine and Jacques will receive their second dose on February 11. They already have the date. And they are very happy about it, because they will be out of danger to celebrate their wedding anniversary in March.

<q data-attributes = '{"lang": {"value": "fr", "label": "Français"}, "value": {"html": "It'll be 50years that we are married. And since we moved to Florida this year, we haven't been to restaurants, even if they're open. But on the night of our anniversary, we're going to pay each other the deal "," text ":" We've been married for 50 years. And since we moved to Florida this year, we haven't been to restaurants, even if they're open. But on the evening of our birthday, we are going to pay the bill "}} 'lang =" fr”>We've been married for 50 years. And since we moved to Florida this year, we haven't been to restaurants, even if they're open. But on our birthday night, we're gonna pay the deal, foresees a happy Francine.

Collective immunity

From the queue, Daniel Boisvert, 69, waves to us. We ran into him in Palm Beach earlier this week. We were in this locality to document the return of Donald Trump to the region.

We talked politics together, then he told us he would get the shot this week. We found him leaving the vaccination site on Thursday morning. <q data-attributes = '{"lang": {"value": "fr", "label": "Français"}, "value": {"html": "I arrived at 7h30. Two hours later, I was vaccinated. It's going well "," text ":" I arrived at 7:30 am. Two hours later, I was vaccinated. It's going well "}} 'lang =" fr”>I arrived at 7:30 am Two hours later, I was vaccinated. It's run good, he says.

A man in a car waves his hand.

Daniel Boisvert got the vaccine in Florida and is very happy.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Mr. Boisvert, who has owned a residence in Florida for thirty years, has not hesitated to come this winter, despite the disapproval faced by individuals who take non-essential trips.

I am very careful. I apply the rules we have in Quebec. I don't go out, I don't go to a restaurant. I wear the mask and keep my distance.

Daniel Boisvert, a snowbird

The man explains that all of this is much easier in the sun. We live outside. There is always air here , he emphasizes. And when I return to Quebec, I will be able to contribute to collective immunity, because I will be vaccinated, he points out.

A man sitting on the beach under an umbrella.

Daniel Boisvert enjoys the pleasures of the beach in the middle of January.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

When we met Daniel Boisvert on Palm Beach, he was reading Ken Follet's latest novel, Twilight and dawn. Not very good. Not his best, he opines. So much for the reading tip.

But, far from winter storms, Mr. Boisvert will be able to continue to contemplate the maritime horizon, without worrying about the media and political storms that torment Quebec and Canada over vaccinations and plane tickets.

Read also :

  • Faster for snowbirds get vaccinated in Florida
  • $ 800,000 bill for a snowbird hospitalized in the United States
  • Ottawa issues warning to Canadian travelers

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