2021 | Coronavirus

Montgomery County getting one of state’s six new mass vaccination sites

Site at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus will open week of April 5

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Gov. Larry Hogan announced six new COVID-19 mass vaccination sites during a press conference on March 23.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that six new additional COVID-19 mass vaccination sites would open across the state in April, including one in Montgomery County.

The county’s mass vaccination site at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College will open the week of April 5.

The six planned sites will bring the state’s total to 12.

The other new sites will be in and open by:
● Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County by April 5
● Anne Arundel County by April 12
● Frederick County by April 12
● Howard County by the end of April
● Harford County by the end of April

The location sites in most counties were not announced.

The six state mass vaccinations sites already operating are at Six Flags American in Prince George’s County, Baltimore Convention Center, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Regency Furniture Stadium in Charles County, and Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury.

Another planned site at Hagerstown Premium Outlets will open on Thursday.

Hogan’s announcement follows weeks of Montgomery County officials pressing the state to set up a mass vaccination site in the state’s most populated county. Montgomery County residents have been going to other state sites, particularly at Six Flags, the closest location.

Hogan did not say on Tuesday how many vaccine doses were expected to be sent to the counties for the new mass vaccination sites.

The federal government has not provided the state with a confirmation of how many the state should expect to receive, he said, but has told officials that there will be a “significant” amount soon.

During a media briefing after the governor’s conference, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said county officials have not been told how many doses to expect.

Dr. Earl Stoddard, executive director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, has previously said that the county would start with 250 doses a day before scaling up to a goal of 3,000 doses a day by April 15.

Increasing the amount of doses administered at the site will be dependent on the state’s distribution, according to Stoddard.

Hogan’s announcement comes a week after Stoddard first announced that a mass vaccination site would come to the county. The same day, Hogan said the announcement was a “bit premature” and that no decision had been made yet, but there would be more news the following week.

Meanwhile, the Maryland National Guard and state health officials were working with the county to set up the site, according to Stoddard.

Hogan also announced that the state’s Phase 2B of vaccination, which begins on March 30, would be expanded to include all residents age 16 and older with disabilities.

Preregistration for Phase 2B began on Tuesday. Phase 2B also includes residents with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

The state entered into Phase 2A, which includes residents age 60 and older, on Tuesday.

Phase 2C, which will begin on April 13, includes residents age 55 and older and essential workers in critical industries.

Phase 3, which includes all residents age 16 and older in the state, will begin no later than April 27.

Elrich noted that the county was already planning on opening a vaccine site at Montgomery College, but having the official support of the state for a mass vaccination site would hopefully mean more doses for residents and workers.

“We were prepared for this and now we’re able to actualize it. I’m excited,” Elrich said. “I thank the state for working with us because we could be working from ground zero trying to locate a place and then work with the state to identify how we would make it work.

“We’ve already gotten through that basic groundwork. I think that gets us ahead of the game the way you would have normally planned for a site.”

In a joint statement released Tuesday afternoon, Elrich and the County Council said the mass vaccination site would provide more access to the vaccines, including through public transit access.

“With the anticipated increase in the volume of vaccine that the State will receive from the federal government in the coming weeks, this new site will enhance and expand our efforts to get more shots in the arms of Montgomery County residents, while also focusing on our most vulnerable residents and hardest hit communities,” the statement said.

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