2021 | Coronavirus

Maryland speeds up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for residents 16 and older at mass sites

All providers must make shots available by April 12

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Bethesda resident Vanessa Fontana Keszler receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccine site on Montgomery College's Germantown campus on March 31, 2021.

Photo by Briana Adhikusuma

All Maryland residents age 16 and older can get a vaccine at a mass vaccination site, starting on Tuesday — three weeks earlier than anticipated.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the change to the state’s vaccine schedule during a press conference on Monday. The state originally planned to open eligibility to all residents age 16 and older on April 27.

Starting on April 12, all vaccine providers in Maryland will be required to open eligibility to everyone 16 and older.

Residents age 16 and 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not approved for minors.

Residents in Phases 1 and 2 will continue to be prioritized for vaccines.

The state is also adding more no-appointment, walk-up lines at mass vaccination sites. On Friday, the first walk-up line was added to the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury.

Starting on Tuesday, no-appointment, walk-up lines will be added at Hagerstown Premium Outlets. Next week, a line will open at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Hogan said more no-appointment lines will be added to each mass vaccination sites in the future.

The best way to guarantee a vaccine is still to preregister and get an invitation for an appointment, Hogan said.

“I want to stress that even though we’re opening up eligibility for everyone, that does not mean everyone will be able to immediately get an appointment,” he said. “But with the supply of doses increasing over the next month or so, a vaccine should be available for everyone who wants one.”

About 76% of Maryland’s residents age 65 and older and 46% of the state’s adults older than 18 have been vaccinated, according to Hogan.

“I don’t want to make promises we can’t deliver based on something that’s not in our control, but if [the federal government] continues to provide vaccines the way they’ve led us to believe, we should be able to finish everybody who wants one during April and May,” he said.

The state is also opening mass vaccination sites this week at Montgomery College in Germantown, Greenbelt Metro Station in Prince George’s County (a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County.

The Montgomery College site will expand for mass vaccination on or around Thursday. It opened on Wednesday of last week as a county-run site.

Next week, mass vaccination sites at Frederick Community College and the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis will open.

Other sites at Ripken Stadium in Harford County and Mall in Columbia in Howard County will open the weeks of April 19 and 26, respectively.

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