FEMA mobile vaccination units, community-based center coming to Maryland

The mobile vaccination sites are 32-foot trailers with cold storage for vaccine doses and are intended to distribute a minimum of 250 doses a day. (Courtesy FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is strengthening its efforts to vaccinate the underserved in Maryland by launching two programs to vaccinate residents: one in Prince George’s County, the other on the Eastern Shore.

FEMA vaccination center in Greenbelt

FEMA will set up a federally operated vaccination site at the Greenbelt Metro Station.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on Tuesday that the the community-based vaccination center will get started April 7; Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd said it would run through June.

Prince George’s County has among the state’s highest COVID-19 rates, and the lowest rates of vaccination.

“It’s important for Greenbelt, for people of color, but really for all Greenbelters and all Prince Georgians to have better access to the vaccine … this is a good thing, not a bad thing. This is not something to be afraid of; this is something to embrace,” Byrd said.

Byrd said the focus of the Greenbelt site is on equity and on “serving communities like Greenbelt and Prince George’s County.”

FEMA Community Vaccination Centers use vaccine doses from the federal supply and are not taken from the state’s allotment.

Several pilot programs have launched in the past few weeks across the country, including one in Virginia.

According to its website, the additional vaccines are made possible through increases in production and availability.

“We are grateful to the White House, FEMA, and all of our federal partners for working with us to expand our vaccination campaign in Prince George’s County and across the state,” Hogan said in a statement Tuesday.

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in the same statement, “Prince George’s County has certainly been the hardest-hit jurisdiction in the region. … This new site will help us increase the number of Prince Georgians and others who are proud to be protected from COVID-19.”

FEMA’s mobile vaccination units head to the Eastern Shore

The first federal mobile vaccination units in the country will soon be coming to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Hogan and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Monday.

Two mobile sites will bring COVID-19 vaccines to Maryland residents who live in remote areas or are socially vulnerable within eight different counties, according to a FEMA news release.

“We continue to expand our vaccine distribution network to maximize points of distribution in every jurisdiction, which will now include the nation’s first federally-operated mobile vaccination units,” said Hogan in a news release.

“These federal units will complement the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force’s mobile clinics and help us get more shots into the arms of our most vulnerable populations,” he said.

The mobile vaccination units will focus on Maryland residents who are more vulnerable along the Eastern Shore:

  • Those who work in manufacturing and food processing plants, specifically those in poultry processing plants;
  • Residents who are in minority and migrant communities, including those who do not have reliable transportation;
  • Marylanders who live in small towns and enclaves.

“Throughout this entire vaccine mission, we’ve been fighting two enemies: a virus and the inequities it has caused.” said FEMA Region 3 Administrator Janice Barlow in the FEMA release.

“These mobile units will ensure that we reach the underserved in their neighborhoods, where they live, and bring us one step closer winning the war against COVID-19,” Barlow said.

The mobile vaccination sites are 32-foot trailers with cold storage for vaccine doses and are intended to distribute a minimum of 250 doses a day, according to the governor’s release. Each vaccination site is expected to stay in a single location for a few days at a time.

Each site is funded by FEMA and will use trained vaccinators and clinical staff from across county, state and federal agencies, the FEMA release said.

Maryland is one of the first states in the U.S. to have the mobile vaccination units.

Residents can book an appointment through their county health department.

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.

WTOP’s Luke Lukert contributed to this story.

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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