Mass vaccination site opens in Montgomery County

County leaders plan to open large-scale vaccination site on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College. (Courtesy Montgomery College)

A mass vaccination site opens in Maryland’s Montgomery County on Wednesday, part of an ongoing effort to boost availability and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The site, operating on Montgomery College’s Germantown campus, will be run by the county for its first week, vaccinating between 500 and 1,000 people per day, according to Mary Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

After transitioning to a seven-day-a-week, state-run mass vaccination site beginning next week, it will double its daily capacity to between 2,000 and 3,000 doses — largely Pfizer’s.

For its site, Montgomery County is partnering with Holy Cross Health and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital. State officials also plan to open a vaccination site at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County.

The Germantown campus is located at 20200 Observation Drive and is accessible via RideOn Bus Route 55, which also stops at the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations on the Red Line.

In contrast to the Six Flags site in Prince George’s County, the new Germantown location is a walk-through site. There will be parking available.

Anderson said classrooms and larger spaces have been set aside in the college’s Bioscience Education Center, where people will be able to line up, receive a dose and then wait out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s suggested 15 minutes before leaving.

WTOP’s news partner, NBC Washington, toured the site before it opened. Watch the video below:

Germantown was selected, Anderson said, because of its wider accessibility to residents of neighboring counties, including Frederick and Howard, once the site changes to a state-run clinic.

The first doses this week will be follow-up Moderna shots, given to Montgomery County residents who received their initial dose at local high schools — which the county has since had to vacate as they welcome students back.

Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled plans for the new site and several others across the state at a news conference earlier this month, anticipating an increased vaccine supply from the federal government.

County Executive Mark Elrich said the Germantown location will be listed on Maryland’s preregistration site, opening it to residents of other counties as well starting next week.

“While I expect our county to get a lot of these vaccinations, some of these will be folks from other counties, just as Montgomery County residents have been going into Baltimore, the Eastern Shore and Prince George’s County for vaccines,” he said last week.

The site will take appointments from people who have preregistered on the county’s list as well as those who have preregistered on the state’s mass vaccination portal. People can also call 1-855-MD-GOVAX to be put on the state’s preregistration list.

The site opens as Maryland has moved to expand vaccine eligibility.

On Tuesday, Maryland entered Phase 2b of the vaccine rollout, which made Marylanders 16 and older with underlying medical conditions eligible for the shots. That’s in addition to all Marylanders 60 and older and some categories of essential workers.

Starting April 13, statewide eligibility expands to those 55 and older, as well as all essential workers in critical industries. All Marylanders over 16 will be eligible for the vaccines by April 27.

WTOP’s Teddy Gelman 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.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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