Breaking News: Miami-Dade Mayor Promotes COVID-19 Vaccinations at FIU

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniela Levine Cava in a press conference at MMC with FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.

Maya Washburn and Valentina Palm / PantherNOW Staff

Mayor Daniela Levine Cava met FIU students on the second day of class to promote the COVID-19 vaccine as cases rise in the county. 

“Vaccines are the only thing that saves lives,” said Levine Cava who held a press conference at the Modesto Maidique Campus with FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.

“If you are unvaccinated, you are spreading [COVID-19] much more rapidly. It is critically important that everyone take the vaccine to protect themselves and others,” said Levine Cava.

University students repopulated both FIU campuses a day before on Aug. 23, after a year of forced online classes due to the pandemic.

FIU removed all remote class options for this fall semester, attempting to return to pre-pandemic operations; however, COVID-19 cases have spiked in Miami-Dade county due to the Delta variant.

“It warms my heart to see people coming back to school in person, but we do know that they need to take precautions, It’s not like it was before,” said Levine Cava.

Mayor Daniela Levine Cava with students inside the Graham Center on the second day of the fall semester.

This week, Miami-Dade County averaged almost 3,000 new COVID-19 cases every day. Almost 65 percent of Miami-Dade residents are vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But, under directions of Gov. Ron DeSantis, public state universities cannot enforce mask wearing or require proof of vaccination.

“We are state agencies and we follow the guidelines provided by elected officials,” said Rosenberg. “It’s not holding us back, we are following the directions that are being provided by the leadership of the state.”

Masks are strongly recommended on campus, but no longer required. Vaccination sites are offered to students on the MMC campus and the Biscayne Bay campus but not mandated.

Levine Cava said she noticed a shift in the attitude of young people towards the effects of the pandemic.

“I think at the beginning there was a thought that maybe young people couldn’t get sick or they couldn’t spread it, which really was not true,” said Levine Cava. “With this new variant, I see that students are being really generous and taking it seriously.”

“We are paying attention to the challenges presented by the Delta virus, and we are in the process of offering vaccinations to students and others who have not yet been vaccinated against this deadly virus,” said Rosenberrg. “I’m really pleased that we can be supported by the mayor.”

Levine Cava emphasized that a new normal can only be achieved with vaccinated students.

Mayor Daniela Levine Cava greets members of the FIU community.

“There are many, many students crowded in the campus, and with that, we are returning to some kind of normalcy,” said Levine Cava. “Unfortunately, that is not possible unless we’re vaccinated.”