County to open vaccination site at Montgomery College on Wednesday
This story was updated at 9:39 a.m. on March 25, 2021 to include a correction from Montgomery College. The article originally reported that the site would open on Monday, which was said by Dr Travis Gayles during a press briefing on Wednesday, and confirmed by a spokesperson for the health department. The opening of the site is actually scheduled for Wednesday.
A county-run vaccination clinic is expected to be opened at Montgomery College in Germantown on Wednesday, days before it becomes a state-backed mass vaccination site.
The county will operate the site starting with a small number of doses until the state dispenses more doses than it hopes to receive.
The college’s Germantown campus has been chosen as one of the state’s six new mass vaccination sites. Governor Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday that the site would begin operating on April 5.
However, on Wednesday, county officials plan to run it as a county-run clinic with 1,500 doses per day.
As soon as Maryland receives and distributes more of the federally promised doses, the site will transform into a state-supported mass vaccination site.
The mass vaccination site is being created in partnership with the state, county, Holy Cross Health and the college.
Dr Earl Stoddard, executive director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, told a press briefing Wednesday afternoon that it is not yet clear how many residents will be invited to appointments for vaccines from the state and county pre-registration lists.
The vaccination site will be open to residents of other counties.
Montgomery County is now operating under the state’s phasing and priority groups after the state’s health department on Monday ordered all jurisdictions to immediately align with the state’s phasing.
The state and county are currently vaccinating those eligible in phases 1A, 1B, 1C and 2A. Phase 2A, which includes all residents aged 60 and over, opened on Tuesday.
On March 30, eligibility will open for Phase 2B, which includes residents aged 16 and over with certain medical conditions that increase the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Dr Travis Gayles, the county’s health official, warned that just because the eligibility is broader doesn’t mean residents will be able to immediately receive an appointment. Eligibility only means the ability to pre-register and put on a waitlist, then receive notification when it’s time to make an appointment.
Until the state provides a larger vaccine supply, the county will use doses from its 4,000-per-week shipment for the Germantown site.
By April 15, the site should be able to deliver 3,000 doses per day – approximately 21,000 doses per week.
Residents of Montgomery County have used other state mass vaccination sites, most notably Six Flags America in the nearest Prince George County.
The county operates its own vaccination clinics at Richard Montgomery and Quince Orchard High Schools, as well as the White Oak Recreation Center. The county plans to close high school clinics by April 1 as public schools in Montgomery County will need the spaces for students.
New clinical sites are currently being considered to replace schools.
Briana Adhikusuma can be contacted at [email protected]