Montgomery County Vaccination Update

Dear resident,

On Monday I called on the State and County to release more information about who is in tier 1A, 1B and 1C, and tiers 2 and 3.

The County health department responded to my request by sharing draft information with the County Council. You can read more details here. Governor Hogan published more state level information at his press conference yesterday at 5pm (as his communications staff responded to my tweets that they planned to do). Here is more information from the state.

Vaccination Phases
Maryland’s priority populations and phasing for vaccinations

I have asked the County Executive to share more clear public information about the County’s tiers and processes. Here are more details based on what information I have at this time.

Health care workers affiliated with hospitals are getting vaccination doses directly from hospitals, who get them directly from the state. Staff and residents of long term care facilities are getting them through a partnership with CVS — CVS workers are going into the facilities and administering the doses (and this is proceeding very slowly).

As part of 1A, Montgomery County is presently offering vaccinations through clinics to health care workers who are likely to interact with patients who could be COVID positive — urgent care, primary care, and vaccinator staff. Next up, within 1A, will be fire and rescue, police, dental practices, homeless shelter staff, physical therapists, and other licensed health providers.

The County government vaccinated about 3,700 people last week and received over 8,000 doses for this week for our own clinics (not counting what hospitals received or CVS). We don’t know how many doses we will receive next week.

When the patient-facing health care sector is done, the next up will be 1B. That will be this month.

1B starts with residents over the age of 75. There are about 73,000 Montgomery County residents in this category.

Then, bus drivers and other transit workers, MCPS/school employees and child care workers.

The Governor’s release says: “Based on the current pace of allocation, the state expects to fully enter Phase 1B by late January.”

Then also in 1B, other front line workers such as grocery store employees, manufacturing workers.

Then, 1C, starting with adults age 65 – 74, of which there are an estimated 95,600 in Montgomery County, and continuing with a variety of job classifications and compromised health status categories.

I have requested that the County publish a dashboard showing how many people are in each category, and how many have been vaccinated, and where we are in progress, and how people can get their doses. I hope we’ll get that soon.

The description above is based on draft information and is not complete; for brevity I have omitted certain smaller groups of employees that are part of various stages. Hopefully we will have more certain information shortly and publicly. A longer draft list has been published in this Bethesda Beat story.

One comment is that I think the federal and state governments really need to get the pharmacies providing doses directly at the retail level, allowing residents to show up with an ID and get their vaccinations based on age. I am concerned that the latter stages of 1B will be very difficult to administer and verify.

Age based administration is easy and quick.

Again, noting that school employees could begin receiving vaccinations in January — depending on whether age 75+ and school employees are simultaneous or sequential (I am looking into that question).

Either way, the doses are coming soon and will positively impact the ability of our schools to reopen.

While I welcome your comments or questions at councilmember.riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov, please understand that I have limited information as well.

Sincerely,
Hans Riemer


Twitter Exchange Between Hans and Hogan Spokesperson

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