Montgomery County, Maryland, Executive Marc Elrich is hoping that the availability of the latest versions of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will encourage residents to get their boosters against the coronavirus.
Since the Food and Drug Administration announced it has authorized the use of the bivalent vaccines, which defends against more than one strain of the coronavirus, the county has requested 1,000 of the new vaccines.
“That would be a significant increase from the number of boosters we’re doing on a week-to-week basis right now, but we think the demand will be up,” said Sean O’Donnell, program administrator for the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
The Moderna vaccine is intended for use in patients 18 years and older, and the Pfizer version would be intended for those 12 years and older.
In his weekly virtual briefing with reporters, Elrich said, “I hope that this is a game-changer and will help us increase our booster rates.”
For a county with a nearly 90% vaccination rate, he said, “I’m frustrated that we remain below 60% in our booster rates. Those numbers need to come up.”
Elrich also expressed concern about the 29 COVID-19 deaths in the county that were recorded in the county’s COVID-19 dashboard from Aug. 1 to Aug. 27.
“Many of those patients that lose their lives to COVID are unvaccinated,” he said.
Kimberly Townsend, a senior administrator at the Montgomery County Department of Health, said that the state health department now has a dashboard with data on monkeypox.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 461 cases of monkeypox reported in Maryland. The state’s dashboard showed 57 of those cases were in Montgomery County, 175 were in Prince George’s County and 133 were reported in Baltimore City.