‘Exciting day’ as Maryland Gov. Hogan tours 2 new mass vaccination sites

The FEMA-run Greenbelt vaccine site can administer up to 3,000 shots a day. (Courtesy Prince George’s County executive)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called it an “exciting day” as he toured new mass vaccination centers in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties Wednesday.

The Prince George’s County site is a high-capacity vaccine center run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Greenbelt Metro station.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Hogan thanked FEMA for choosing the Greenbelt Metro site, “which is terrific because people can access the site very easily,” he said.

Hogan also thanked Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who he called a “tremendous partner throughout this entire crisis,” adding, “This really is a lot of people at the federal, state and local level coming together for an incredible lifesaving mission. And you know, we’re having huge success.”

Hogan said the stepped-up pace of vaccinations in Maryland has produced a more positive feeling throughout the state as he talks to residents.

“We’ve done 3.2 million vaccines, and 78% of all the people over 65 have already been vaccinated, ” Hogan added. Meanwhile, 46% of all Marylanders over 18 have already received a vaccine, he said.

The new Greenbelt site is in addition to several mass vaccination sites Maryland has stood up over the past two months. The state’s first mass site opened at the Six Flags theme park in Prince George’s County in February.

The Greenbelt site will offer 3,000 shots per day, Alsobrooks said. About 65% of the site’s shots will be reserved for Prince George’s County residents, she added.

“So many of our residents who do not have cars are able to access this site. Many in the inner Beltway areas who have said, ‘Well, how do we get our shots?’ Well, they can come here now by way of Metro and get those shots,” Alsobrooks said.

She added that mobile units will be working to get the vaccine to hard-hit communities throughout the county.

“So we’re really just ecstatic today. Four days it took to erect this beautiful site. That’s unbelievable. It’s magic that was performed here, and we recognize it, and we’re just really grateful,” Alsobrooks said.

Hogan also addressed the news that vaccine allotments would be trimmed, which comes on the heels of the tossing of a botched vaccine batch at a Baltimore plant. It’s unclear whether the state receiving fewer doses is related to the incident.

Hogan said he was informed that the nationwide supply of weekly Johnson and Johnson doses would be cut, which meant Maryland would see about 80,000 fewer doses of the vaccine. But the gap would be reduced, he said,  thanks to the 21,000 shots supplied by FEMA for the Greenbelt site and some slight increases of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.


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Germantown site: ‘Big step forward for Montgomery Co.’

Later in the afternoon, Hogan toured the new vaccine site at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College.

The high-capacity site, which opened as a county-run site last week in a pilot phase, also has the capacity to do 3,000 shots a day.

About 25% of the doses will be reserved for county residents, county officials say.

Hogan at times has had a contentious relationship with Montgomery County leaders, including County Executive Marc Elrich.

At the site visit, both leaders emphasized unity on the issue of ramping up vaccinations.

“We’re not going to agree on every single thing,” Hogan said. “The good news is we all agree on how important it is to fight this COVID silent enemy and that we get everybody vaccinated.”

Elrich said the opening of the site was an important day.

“We’ve been waiting for it for a long time. This is going to be a big step forward for Montgomery County. There are differences of opinion on some things. But there are things we are totally united on, which is people need to get vaccinated.”

In addition to the new vaccine sites, Hogan’s office announced that it would be awarding $10 million in grants to Maryland schools to address the needs of at-risk students.

“An essential part of Maryland’s recovery depends on giving every single child in Maryland the ability to safely return for in-person learning,” Hogan said. “These funds will help provide support for our students who have suffered most in the pandemic, and help address learning loss experienced during virtual learning.”

According to a news release, the money comes from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Grant recipients include Baltimore City Public Schools; Carroll County Public Schools; Children’s Guild; Harford County Public Schools; Montgomery County Public Schools; Prince George’s County Public Schools; Queen Anne’s County Public Schools; Reid Temple Christian Academy; Wicomico County Public Schools; and Worcester County Public Schools.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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