The state of Maryland will be dealing with a 33% reduction in the total federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines next week, Montgomery County officials said Thursday.
Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer, said the dropoff was “likely” tied to the recent destruction of about 15 million botched doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but it’s not known yet exactly how hard the shortage will hit the county.
Noting that about 500,000 people in the county are awaiting vaccinations, and that the county’s capacity is currently at about 50,000 a week, County Executive Marc Elrich said at an online briefing Thursday that getting the population fully vaccinated “could take a couple more weeks, depending on how long this lasts.”
The county generally finds out on Friday or Saturday what its allocation will be for the next week, Gayles said.
Elrich also announced that, while the county had reserved vaccination appointments for people on the priority lists regarding age or health conditions, “anybody in the county can now register” for an appointment on the county’s website, and he encouraged all adult residents to do so. “We will call you as we get to you in the queue,” Elrich said.
However, he warned, “Don’t confuse eligibility with availability.”
A half-million people in the county need to be vaccinated, Elrich said, and the number of doses coming to the county are “far, far less than the number of people eligible to get those doses.”
Gayles said people need to be patient, as difficult as that can be to keep hearing: “I know that folks are probably tired of hearing us saying this, but … if we hold on a little while longer, we can get across the finish line.”
Meanwhile, anyone 16 and older can schedule to get a vaccine at any of the state’s mass vaccination sites, Gov. Larry Hogan said in a news conference Monday.
Hogan also announced the launch of no-appointment-necessary lines at some mass vaccination sites that will be opening in the future. Starting Friday, the M & Bank Stadium site in Baltimore will offer a limited number of 200 same-day, walk-up vaccinations. Slots will be available each day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week, excluding Orioles day game dates.
Montgomery Council to hold hearing on summer camp guidance
The Montgomery County Council, sitting as the board of health, will hold a hearing and vote on regulations over summer camp guidance. The hearing will take place Tuesday at 9:45 a.m.
The proposed guidance includes: only having campers from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia; separating participants into groups of 25 for indoor activities, 50 for outdoor; having a COVID-19 Protocol Plan; and a cap of 25 people in a sleeping area, among others.
The deadline to sign up for the public hearing is Monday, 5 p.m.
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WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.