Montgomery County approaches 50% COVID-19 vaccination rate

Montgomery County, Maryland, is approaching a significant milestone in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: Nearly 50% of its residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and almost 30% of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

“And when you take out the people who can’t get vaccinated, it’s actually a much higher percent. And so we’re really happy about where we’re moving with this,” County Executive Marc Elrich said during a Wednesday briefing.

“However, our Germantown mass vax site saw a 20% reduction in doses this week … which is really problematic,” Elrich added. “And that comes down obviously from the shortage of supply.”

Elrich said the problem can be traced back to manufacturing problems with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “as well as the failure of other supplies to materialize adequately to replace what we lost from Johnson & Johnson.”

Still, officials credited Montgomery County residents for the high vaccination percentages.

“I know not everybody jumped up and down and said, ‘Yes, I love doing this,’ but the fact is that most residents have worked with us and followed the kind of guidance we’ve given them. Because they follow the guidance, we have the numbers that we have,” Elrich said.

“And because we have the numbers that we have, we’re beginning to look now at how we move toward reopening. We’ll be providing guideline metrics that are achievable metrics, not aspirational metrics.”

Earl Stoddard, with the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said there was a “significantly high scientific literacy rate in Montgomery County.”

“We have a population that’s very willing to follow the guidance and guidelines of our public health leaders, not just in the county, but across the country. And so I think that well-informed population matters.”

Elrich said that more information on reopening would be coming.


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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.


Food insecurity

Montgomery County is also increasing its efforts to ensure that residents have enough to eat.

Food Council Executive Director Heather Bruskin said that while it’s hard to imagine the county as having problems with food security, “the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic distress, triggered this massive food access crisis in the county and throughout the region and deepening inequities in our local food system.”

She noted the rise of unemployment, small business closures and health disparities in the county.

According to Bruskin, Montgomery County has seen an estimated increase of 50% in the number of residents accessing food services since mid-March. That translates to 60,000 residents experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic to just over 100,000 today.

“And actually, the most recent revised Feeding America projections put food insecurity in the county at 11.1%, which is a 39% increase from our pre-COVID levels,” Bruskin said.

As a result, the Food Security Task Force was created.

Netta Squires, Montgomery County’s emergency preparedness specialist, said the county “has seen a 50% increase in the number of organizations engaged in food assistance work, jumping from 75 to over 120 nonprofits, faith communities and other groups through doing pop-up and regular food distributions.”

A Montgomery County food assistance resource map is available online.


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.


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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