Montgomery County, Maryland, received its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and the county’s top health officer has a message for residents.
Dr. Travis Gayles, flashing a thumbs up after getting the shot Wednesday afternoon, said the vaccine is safe and no one should shy away from getting vaccinated.
“I would encourage folks to get it. I would also encourage us to have lots of open discussion about what people’s concerns are and questions,” said Gayles, speaking to reporters just minutes after getting the shot.
As to when Montgomery County would receive larger shipments of the vaccine, Gayles said information about that sometimes changes hour to hour, adding, “Our hope is that we will receive a consistent and steady supply of doses moving forward on a weekly basis at minimum.”
Wednesday’s shipment is in addition to the supply that six county hospitals “have or will receive” from the state’s Health Department, the county said. The county will know more details about when and how much more doses will arrive when the federal government sends the vaccines to the state.
“The shipment that arrived today from the Maryland Department of Health is only a small fraction of the entire supply expected to ultimately arrive in Montgomery County and across the United States,” the county said in a release Wednesday.
These initial doses are going to public health workers who will give the shot to other people. Once front-line health care workers get the first shot, staff and residents of nursing homes, and first responders, will be next as part of Phase 1A.
The next phase, 1B, is planned for essential workers and residents over 75 years old, including those at higher risk of severe illness. The following Phase 1C will go to people over age 65.
Montgomery County estimates that the general public could have the opportunity to receive the vaccine sometime in the spring.
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