Maryland plans statewide preregistry for mass vaccination coronavirus sites

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BOWIE, MD – FEBRUARY 06: A mass coronavirus vaccination site is seen in the parking lot of Six Flags on February 6, 2021 in Bowie, Maryland. Maryland officially entered Phase 1C of COVID-19 vaccine distribution including people over age 65, U.S. Postal Service employees, and workers in manufacturing and agriculture. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Maryland has announced plans to set up a statewide system to smooth the process of pre-registering for a COVID-19 vaccine at mass clinics.

Residents have complained about spending hours on the telephone while on hold and being frustrated by various websites in their quest for a first appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“In March, we’re going to be launching a statewide preregistration system to support our state-run mass vaccination sites and this is going to allow us to manage the flow of appointments,” acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said during the weekly meeting of the state’s Senate Vaccine Oversight Work Group.

Marylanders who are eligible for a vaccine, including those 65 and older and people in essential work groups, such as teachers and grocery store workers, have been scrambling to preregister for shots.

Residents have been exchanging tips for where to look and how to navigate numerous websites, including county health departments, pharmacies, including CVS and Giant, and sites representing each of the state’s three mass vaccination sites.

Schrader said the state registry will coordinated with county health departments to ease the sign-up process, but it will not replace already operating scheduling systems in non-mass vaccination sites.

Plans are in the works to establish more mass vaccination sites in Maryland in addition to the sites at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County, M&T Bank Stadium and the Baltimore Convention Center.

Schrader told the panel that sites are being evaluated in southern and western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.

Schrader also defended the state’s efforts to get shots into the arms of Marylanders against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, presented by the panel’s staff, which indicated that Maryland is lagging behind other states in administering vaccines.

“We are finding there’s a data lag at CDC,” Schrader said, adding that Maryland ranks 19th among the states in first-dose administration.

Schrader also said wintry weather across the nation slowed vaccine deliveries last week. Maryland expected 118,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine over the next two weeks, with new supplies arriving over the next two days.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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