About 60% of Montgomery County residents older than 16 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Thursday morning, the county Department of Health reported that 508,538 people were partially vaccinated. On its online dashboard, the county accurately reports that it is equivalent to 48.4% of the county’s 1.05 million people.
But because only people 16 and older are authorized by the federal government to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, that means about 60% of the people who are eligible have gotten a shot.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, there are roughly 809,000 people in Montgomery County older than 18. There are no estimates available showing how many people are 16 or 17 years old, and county officials had not responded to requests for that information on Thursday.
In a message to Bethesda Beat on Thursday, Earl Stoddard, the county’s director of emergency management and homeland security, wrote that the county’s dashboard reports the percentage of the total population that has been vaccinated because officials are aiming for between 70% and 80% of the entire population being vaccinated to reach “herd immunity.”
“The virus doesn’t care about who is eligible when it can infect everyone,” he wrote.
Stoddard added that health officials expect younger people to be eligible for vaccines in the coming months, and “if we did it as a percent (that is) eligible, our percent would drop each time a new group comes onboard.”
Across Maryland, more than 2.4 million people (40% of the total population) had received at least one dose, and about 1.7 million (28.6%) were fully vaccinated as of Thursday morning.
During a call with reporters on Wednesday, County Executive Marc Elrich praised local residents for signing up to get vaccinated.
“I know not everybody jumped up and down and said, ‘Yes, I love doing this,’ but the fact is that most residents have worked with us and followed the kind of guidance we’ve given,” Elrich said. “Because they follow the guidance, we have the numbers that we have.”
As the number of vaccinated residents continues to increase, the county saw fewer vaccine appointment invitations accepted over the past week. Stoddard said that’s in part because residents are getting vaccines elsewhere before the county offers an appointment.
Around 126,000 people are preregistered for an appointment in the county’s system and have not received a vaccine yet. About 47,000 of those have not received an invitation for an appointment.
The number of accepted invitations for appointments fluctuates but is usually around 50%. It is down this week to about 25%, Stoddard said during Wednesday’s press briefing.
On Friday, Montgomery County reported 91 new cases of COVID-19. There have been 69,238 cases of the virus since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The county also reported two new confirmed deaths, raising the total to 1,462.
Across Maryland, there have been 441,155 cases of COVID-19 and 8,447 confirmed deaths.
Staff writer Briana Adhikusuma contributed to this story.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org