2021 | Coronavirus

FEMA to open pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site in Montgomery County

Will have fewer appointments than other sites

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A Montgomery County vaccinator prepares COVID-19 vaccine syringes at the county clinic on Montgomery College's Germantown campus on March 31, 2021.

File photo

Some additional federal help will come to Montgomery County in the form of a small pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site.

Earl Stoddard, executive director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said Wednesday that the county is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the pop-up.

The site will most likely operate May 4 to 9.

Federal, state and county officials were scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss a potential location for the site, but it will be in a diverse area with lower vaccination rates, according to Stoddard.

The site will only administer 500 doses — far fewer than at other vaccination sites — but Stoddard said any amount helps.

“Anytime they want to have a 500-dose clinic in Montgomery County, we will be happy to host them,” he said during a media briefing.

As the number of vaccinated residents continues to increase, the county is seeing fewer vaccine appointment invitations accepted over the last week.

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.

“We’re having to send four invitations for every one that comes back,” he said. “We will move through that preregistration list at a pretty rapid rate.”

As the public’s response to the invitations wanes, the county will move to walk-up lines or open appointments, regardless of the phase priority, in May, Stoddard said.

“We’re going to let public behavior around filling our appointment spots dictate when we’re ready to move to that next phase of vaccination, rather than forcing it on the system when there are still plenty of people who have not had a single opportunity to be vaccinated,” he said.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.