Montgomery County, Maryland, is moving ahead with plans to get kids aged 5 to 11 vaccinated, and health officials are reassuring parents that they have enough pediatric doses to go around.
Data shows there are roughly 105,000 children aged 5 to 11 in the county.
Dr. Earl Stoddard, chief administrative officer, said Wednesday that “with this round, we actually have enough vaccine to vaccinate 35% to 40% of our population in the first week,” because Montgomery County is getting 40,000 doses.
And unlike when the coronavirus vaccines were first introduced, county health officials like Sean O’Donnell expect there will be little hesitation among parents.
“Parents are ready to have their kids vaccinated. We believe they’ll come out very quickly,” he said.
Montgomery County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz wondered about how tough it might be to find COVID-19 vaccines for his children.
“In my home, we got the notification from our pediatrician that between 1% and 2% of patients eligible in our practice are going to be able to receive the vaccination and they were encouraging everyone to look at pharmacies, and the county and the state,” Albornoz said.
O’Donnell said that, in contrast to the initial rollout of the vaccine for adults, they’ve “already gotten a much greater amount for the population we’re trying to serve.”
On Tuesday, the council unanimously voted to relax the coronavirus metrics that dictate when mask mandates in the Maryland county can snap back into effect.
The county will now reinstate a public indoor mask mandate only if it sees seven consecutive days of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention terms “substantial” transmission.
Before, the mask mandate was automatically triggered as soon as the county crossed the substantial transmission threshold.
In addition, the county recently released updated guidance for coronavirus-related quarantine for students throughout its school system, which only applies to those who are unvaccinated.
WTOP’s Kate Ryan and Anna Gawel contributed to this report.