By one key measure, Montgomery County, Maryland, is leading the nation when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, including in the newly eligible population of kids 12 and older.
Just under 71% of Montgomery County residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated. That’s higher than anywhere else in Maryland and, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, makes Montgomery No. 1 among large counties in the U.S., according to an update Monday from Dr. James Bridgers, the county’s deputy health officer.
The county’s No. 1 ranking is in large counties of at least 300,000 residents.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer was authorized last month for use in some kids younger than 16, more than 26,000 12- to 15-year-olds in the county have received their shots, according to county data. Overall, more than 631,000 residents are fully vaccinated in the county.
“One of our primary targets now is our 12-plus population,” Bridgers said during a weekly virtual press briefing with Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker and Vice President Gabe Albornoz.
Bridgers attributed the county’s success to school systems for coordinating with the Health Department on vaccine clinics and parents for getting their kids vaccinated.
While the county is pivoting to more “niche” and “pop-up” vaccine sites, Bridgers said there are no plans at the moment to close down the county’s mass vaccination site at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College. The high throughput site, which is run in collaboration with the state, opened in the spring.
The county is still seeing fairly steady demand for shots at the site, Bridgers said. Overall, the county is still administering about 3,000 shots per day at all of the county’s sites, including Germantown.
“We continue to monitor the number of vaccinations we have on a daily basis,” Bridgers said.
Bridgers also cited a high number of second doses the county is set to administer over the next few weeks.
“But we have begun to assess what it would look like maybe in a month’s time or maybe in four weeks,” Bridgers said.
Last week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the state is planning to wind down operations at most of its dozen mass-vaccination sites, including the state’s first mass site at Six Flags theme park next month.
Montgomery County, which is the most populous in Maryland, has seen a continued slide in COVID-19 infections over the past month and is now sitting near record-low territory.
The test-positivity rate in the county currently stands at 0.87% — meaning fewer than 1% of coronavirus tests in the county are coming back positive.
The seven-day average of new daily cases per 100,000 residents was just 1.81 cases as of Monday, according to the county’s data.
The county has attributed its low case counts to its more cautious approach to reopening — which was tied to the county’s vaccination rates — and the county’s swift pace of vaccinations.
Elsewhere in Maryland, infections and health metrics are also on a steep decline.
The statewide positivity rate fell to 1.12% Monday, a record low, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Overall, the positivity rate has declined by 81% since mid-April, his office said. In addition to Montgomery County, 18 other jurisdictions have positivity rates below 2%.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Maryland are also at their lowest levels since March 2020, according to Hogan’s office.
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