What to know about the Montgomery County mass vaccination site

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A vaccinator prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine at a county-run clinic at the White Oak Recreation Center in early January. Clinics are by appointment only and do not allow walk-in visits.

Photo of Montgomery County

Residents of Montgomery County are expected to have a new COVID-19 vaccination site to use, on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College, within two weeks.

The site will begin with a small distribution of approximately 250 doses per day before becoming a mass vaccination site administering 3,000 doses per day. County officials hope to achieve that goal by April 25.

The county announced the mass vaccination site on Tuesday, but later the same day Gov. Larry Hogan said the news was “a bit premature” and no decision had been made.

But a county official said the county has already received physical and logistical support from the state. In addition, the state has shown the county how to use the state’s mass immunization planning system.

Even if the state does not end up providing the doses needed for the Germantown campus to become a mass vaccination site, the county will still run it as a vaccination site, county officials said Wednesday.

The university campus won’t be the only new location for vaccines. Two county-run clinics at Richard Montgomery and Quince Orchard high schools will also need to be replaced on April 1, when Montgomery County public schools need the space for students.

Alternative clinic sites are being considered. The county also operates a small clinic at the White Oak Recreation Center.

Below are key details about vaccination in Montgomery County and other information related to COVID-19.

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If the governor says no decision has been made, will there be a national mass vaccination site at Montgomery College?

It’s hard to say for sure until Hogan announces the engagement. He told reporters on Tuesday that the state is talking with four or five counties about the possibility of establishing mass vaccination sites, but there could be an announcement next week.
Hogan said details on the availability of vaccine doses, which the state is obtaining from the federal government, have yet to be determined.

County officials, on the other hand, insisted they continued to receive indications that plans were progressing, including several meetings to discuss state processes and an offer of assistance with the purchase of laptops. and site infrastructure planning.

Either way, a vaccination clinic will be open on the Germantown University Campus, whether the state provides additional vaccines for the site or only by the county.

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Why would the county mass vaccination site be a county-state partnership? Why will it not be managed by the state like the other sites?

According to Dr Earl Stoddard, executive director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the state was specifically interested in pursuing a partnership instead of fully operating the site.

The partnership would be between the state, the county, Holy Cross Health and Montgomery College.

“It’s going to happen,” he said in a briefing on Wednesday. “It’s just a matter of how the state sees the partnership. Right now, we as a county will be moving operations to this site over the next few weeks. “

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Where are the other mass vaccination sites in the state?

The state operates mass vaccination sites at Six Flags America in Prince George County, the Baltimore Convention Center, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, and Regency Furniture Stadium in Charles County.

An additional site opened Thursday at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury. Another site will open at Hagerstown Premium Outlets on March 25.

You can pre-register for an appointment at a state mass vaccination site here or call 1-855-634-6829.

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Can you get vaccinated by other county health departments if you don’t live or work in that county?

Authorities have strongly recommended and advised that residents and workers be vaccinated in the county in which they live or work.

Montgomery County health official Dr Travis Gayles said county residents would be given priority, but no one would be turned down if they were eligible and had an appointment.

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Will County Council lift restrictions on sports?

The county council, serving as a board of health, is expected to consider lifting some restrictions on youth sports on Friday.

A public hearing and a vote are scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. The deadline to register to speak at the public hearing is Friday at 10:30 am.

Last Friday, the council approved a rule that limited sports attendance to a maximum of 50 people for outdoor sports and a maximum of 25 for indoor sports, with the exception of ice hockey. Ice hockey was limited to a maximum occupancy rate of 10% for the rinks.

A deviation from these limits for an event could be approved in advance.

Low and medium risk sports were allowed to have training, scrums, matches, matches and competitions. But high-risk sports – like soccer, basketball, and cheerleading – were limited to skill building and non-contact exercises.

The board will consider lifting some restrictions on certain sports, while ensuring player safety by requiring the wearing of a mask, testing protocols, contact tracing and other measures.

Gayles has expressed concern over the relaxation of restrictions on youth sports due to the possible spread of COVID-19 among sports teams and in schools.

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Who is currently vaccinated in the county?

Hospitals, medical providers, and some retail pharmacies immunize residents and workers in phases 1A, 1B, and 1C, according to state guidelines. The phases of the report can be found here.

Clinics run by Montgomery County administer vaccines to residents and workers in phases 1A and 1B, as well as adults aged 65 to 74 during phase 1C.

Currently eligible people include healthcare workers, medical providers, adults 65 years of age or older, and certain essential workers. A list of county phases can be found here.

People residing in the rest of the County’s Phase 1C can pre-register for the vaccine, which puts their information into the county’s system. An invitation to make an appointment will be sent to people once they are eligible and a dose of vaccine is available to them.

A tool to find a vaccination site near you can be found here.

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Why do state and county have different eligibility criteria for rounds of immunization?

There are differences in eligibility between state and county immunization stages, such as certain medical conditions that qualify you for the vaccine.

According to Gayles, a prioritization framework was created collectively by the state’s county health workers. The framework has been submitted to the State for review.

“We haven’t exactly aligned with the state to make sure we prioritize the most vulnerable as an option,” he said on March 11. “We take seriously our role as a safety net and protector of the most vulnerable.

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Can you choose which vaccine is given to you?

Residents and workers cannot choose which vaccine is given to them, but health officials have assured that they are all viable and effective. Approved vaccines come from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

County officials said there would likely be a specific type of vaccine in each clinic run by the county. When residents register for an appointment, they will know what type of vaccine they will receive at the clinic.

If they don’t want the particular vaccine associated with the appointment, there will be a potential wait for an appointment for a different vaccine.

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How many residents have been vaccinated?

On Wednesday, 240,417 residents of the county, or 22.9% of the county’s population, received a first dose of a two-dose vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna. Two-dose vaccines are given three to four weeks apart.

There are 124,431 residents, or 11.8% of the population, who are fully vaccinated with a second dose or with the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

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If COVID-19 vaccinations increase, is it still necessary to take COVID-19 tests?

You should always take a COVID-19 test if you’ve been exposed to someone who has had symptoms or tested positive – or if you’ve been with a large group of people or if you’ve traveled.

County officials said COVID-19 testing has seen a drop over the past month. But the tests are helping the county track where and how cases are spreading.

Over two weeks in late February and early March, the county administered an average of about 5,500 tests. By comparison, the week of December 26, the county administered more than 11,800 tests.

County officials said testing drops were seen across the country

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How do you find more information?

For more information, see these resources:
● Montgomery County Vaccine website: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/
● Maryland vaccine website: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine
● Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

Residents and workers in Phase 1B and 1C can pre-register for the vaccine here.

A pre-registration helpline for county-run clinics is available for pre-registration assistance at 240-777-2982. General vaccine questions can be directed to the county at 240-777-1755.

Staff are available to callers in English and Spanish. The call center is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Have a question you haven’t answered here?

Send your question to [email protected] and include “COVID Q&A” in the subject line. We will try to answer them.

Our previous vaccine questions and answers are available here:
● Q&A of March 11
● Questions and answers of March 5
● Questions and answers of February 24
● Questions and answers of February 17
● Questions and answers of January 19
Briana Adhikusuma can be contacted at [email protected]



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