As COVID-19 vaccine doses continue to arrive at local hospitals, Montgomery County officials say they expect to get their own supply of 100 doses as early as Wednesday.

Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer, said Tuesday during a media briefing that the expected doses are “not even a drop in the bucket of what is needed to cover health care workers and in terms of what we’re hoping to begin to scale up to be able to provide hundreds if not thousands of vaccines” to residents in different phases.

The county’s initial 100 doses are expected to be used for workers from the county’s health department and volunteers from nonprofits who will set up and administer the county’s vaccine distribution, according to Gayles.

He said he might get a dose from the initial 100.

The overall plans for who will get vaccines are:

  • Phase 1A: health care workers, first responders, and nursing home residents and staff members
  • Phase 1B: residents with underlying health conditions who are more at significant risk of severe COVID-19 illness, frontline essential employees, residents 75 years old and older
  • Phase 1C: essential workers, residents ages 65 to 74, residents ages 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions
  • Phase 2: residents with moderate risk of COVID-19 illness, residents ages 16 and older not in Phase 1
  • Phase 3: general population

There is no registration platform yet for people to sign up to receive the vaccine.

Gayles said the county will serve as a “safety net” for health care providers who are not part of health care systems or long-term care facilities. The county is working on receiving further state clarification on the priorities for providers because of the short supply, he said.

County Executive Marc Elrich said at the briefing that the doses the county expects to receive and the number that hospitals have received — an estimated 925 for each of the six hospitals in the county — are not enough for health care and front-line workers.

“At this point, the supply simply does not meet the demand and the supply, near as I can tell, hasn’t matched what we were told we were going to get,” he said.

According to Gayles, two of the county’s six hospitals have no vacancies within their intensive care units. There are 75 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in the hospital ICUs, as of Tuesday morning.

Officials are hoping there won’t be another case spike such as the one experienced after Thanksgiving.

With two days left until Christmas, Elrich urged residents to stay home for the holidays to avoid spreading the virus.

“It’s really important that people not get together,” he said. “If we’re going to do what we can to control the spread of [the coronavirus], we have to be sure that we’re able to prevent ourselves from putting each other at risk. The next two weeks will be critical to bend the curve in the right direction. We’ve had some improvement.”

Elrich said residents should take future holidays into account and consider “who you want to join you next year and the year after that.”

Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced travel restrictions on Thursday, including requiring a negative COVID-19 test or a 10-day quarantine for Maryland residents who travel outside the state.