Montgomery Co. community leaders applaud COVID-19 response as mass vaccination site closes

The mass vaccination site in Montgomery, County, Maryland, opened in late March. Since then, it’s administered 73,000 doses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now, the site at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College has closed, and the COVID-19 vaccine program housed there moves to a smaller venue at the Upcounty Regional Services Center on Middlebrook Road.

At a news conference marking the closure of the Germantown site Friday, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich noted the closure of the site came just as the Fourth of July weekend was starting.

“I don’t think the virus planned it this way” said Elrich, but this Fourth of July holiday, residents celebrating the nation’s independence would also be “a little bit freer from the virus.”

The site initially administered 1,300 doses a day, and eventually the capacity went up to 3,000 a day.

Dr. Yancy Phillips, with Holy Cross Health, talked about the toll the pandemic had taken on health care workers at the news conference.

“For months, Holy Cross Hospital staff — doctors, nurses — stood at the bedside of patients and saw the suffering and death that came with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Phillips said.

Phillips said the opportunity to step in and provide vaccinations at the Germantown location was “healing for staff, who’ve been through so much.”

“We’re not claiming victory,” Earl Stoddard, the county’s director of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security said. “We’re not celebrating, no one’s spiking the football here today.” Instead he said the county’s work would shift to a phase that would focus on smaller venues.

Mary Anderson, the public information officer for the county’s department of Health and Human Services, said the county would continue to work in hard hit communities, and deliver vaccines in smaller settings, including “an apartment complex, or at schools in areas where we saw a high number of cases.”

Anderson said the vaccination effort at the Germantown location was a “massive undertaking” done with cooperation from a variety of county agencies, Holy Cross Health, Montgomery College and the Maryland Department of Health.

The new vaccination clinic opens Tuesday, July 6 at 9 a.m. at the Upcounty Regional Services Center at 12900 Middlebrook Road.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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