Doing the math on vaccination doses

Dear resident,

The pandemic’s peak is in our rear view mirror, but like a beast in a horror movie it is also chasing us. We have to keep our foot on the gas. That means continuing to mask and social distance while getting vaccinated.

If you are wondering when you’ll likely get a dose — or how far we are from having a high share of the County vaccinated — you might find the following information helpful.

Here’s the bottom line: By summer we could finally be ready to roll credits on this terrible movie. This is how the math works.

The Next 30 Days

As of Sunday, March 21, more than 250,000 County residents have received at least a first dose.

We have about 1,050,000 residents. Roughly 20% of our population is under 16, meaning our eligible population is in the 800,000 range.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume a 10% hesitancy rate; that is low, but our residents believe in science.

Therefore there are about 720,000 County residents who have or want to get vaccinated. With 250,000 of 720,000, we are more than one-third of the way through first doses already.

On average about 5,500 County residents receive a first dose each day (based on recent days and not counting a second dose, or the single dose J&J), according to statewide data reports.

Well, 5,500 per day adds up to 165,000 more first dose vaccinations in the next 30 days.

Therefore in 30 days, at this rate we will have 415,000 residents at least partially vaccinated. By April 31 we’d reach a total of 470,000 of 720,000 residents with at least a first dose, or 65%.

And again, that is assuming that supply doesn’t increase from its current pace. But it will increase, so we should actually hit those numbers faster.

My concern at this point is that by the end of April, the number of County residents who can travel long distances to mass vax sites or pharmacies in other parts of the state will taper off.

Presently, according to data I reviewed from the State, well over half of Montgomery County residents who are getting vaccinated each week are getting their appointments outside of the County, or even out of State.

To sustain these numbers we need more doses available locally. There are a lot of folks who can’t take off a half day or make a roundtrip to Waldorf but could more easily make an appointment at a local pharmacy or a county clinic. For those who don’t drive, hospitals are well known and have transit service already.

We need more supply to our pharmacies and hospitals and County safety net clinics.

And we will need community partnerships to reach those who have accessibility challenges — even more so for second doses. A lot of residents for any number of reasons are going to have challenges getting to an appointment — we can bring mobile clinics to them and we need to be ready to go.

We need smooth planning. This past week, unfortunately, was more chaotic, with the County Executive announcing a statewide clinic agreement that the Governor has not actually signed off on. I hope we’ll get that worked out soon.

Clearly the Governor needs Montgomery County residents to get vaccinated or the state will come up short on getting shots into arms. Maryland’s future success will depend on local availability of doses.

Let’s get this done!

As always, please let me know your comments or questions by emailing Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov. If you find this information helpful, please send it to a friend; new subscribers can sign up here.

Sincerely,
Hans Riemer

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