Doses for Montgomery County
March 11, 2021
I hope you can enjoy the weather this week. I take it as a sign of better days ahead — I truly believe we are about to cross over to a much better place in this pandemic. Nearly 200,000 residents have received a first dose!
That said, there are a lot of tough issues that we must continue working to resolve. And we must stay vigilant about facial coverings and distancing.
We need more doses — or we need a “MD Mass Vax Site”
In the early stages of the roll-out, there were fewer doses per person available in Montgomery County than in some other parts of the state. The County seemed to catch up more recently, but now I am concerned that the state is allocating new doses to “mass vaccination sites” rather than County sites.
The obvious problem is there is no mass vaccination site in Montgomery County, despite being the biggest county in the state! As a result, a lot of state doses are only available to people who are able to drive to Six Flags or Baltimore or other distant locations.
If the State isn’t going to set up a mass vaccination site in the biggest County in the state, then they need to send additional doses to our County HHS clinics, hospitals and pharmacies so that our residents have equitable access.
I am continuing to speak out along with my colleagues on the Council, calling for the State to make a stronger effort here in Montgomery County.
Are you eligible to get vaccinated?
I get a lot of questions about when and where people can get vaccinated. The state eligibility criteria covers statewide sites as well as pharmacies in Montgomery County. The County HHS clinics are more restrictive in order to ensure greater appointment availability for the highest priority groups. The hospitals are each a little different, generally not as fully in 1C as the state but not as restrictive as the County, either. Hospital eligibility is described on their individual websites; state and county eligibility groups are here:
Doses will soon be abundant
Despite the current scarcity, the vaccine manufacturers are increasing production significantly and supplies will steadily increase to the point that they are much more widely available — in a matter of weeks.
Again — will our share of those doses get shipped to clinics, hospitals and pharmacies in the County? I’ll keep fighting to make sure that our residents are treated fairly.
As always, let me know what questions you might have.
Finally, for a very thorough review of a variety of important issues relating to the vaccination rollout, I recommend Delegate Ariana Kelly’s “Week 13 of the Rollout” report, here.
P.S., I agree with public health experts who are saying that certain aspects of Governor Hogan’s re-opening order are several weeks premature for Montgomery County. I’m working with colleagues on a phasing plan now.