A Prince George’s County, Maryland, leader is calling for more county residents to receive COVID-19 vaccine appointments at a mass vaccination site within its jurisdiction.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said during a Thursday news conference that she’s asking the state to block off certain days for county residents to be vaccinated at the Six Flags America vaccine site.
If that can’t be accommodated, Alsobrooks said she’d like for at least half of the doses administered at Six Flags America to be given to Prince George’s residents.
On Wednesday, the office of Gov. Larry Hogan announced that at least 500 appointments per week at the Six Flags America site in Bowie would be filled exclusively by county residents through a text message registration.
Alsobrooks said just 11% of vaccines at the Six Flags America location are being given to Prince George’s residents.
Alsobrooks also said vaccine hesitancy among Black and brown communities in the county isn’t an issue, because there are about 118,000 people currently on the county’s waiting list.
Prince George’s County has nine vaccine doses allocated for every 100 people — that’s third-lowest in the state, ahead of only Harford and Anne Arundel counties.
The county is the second-most populous in the state and has the third-most vaccines allocated to it.
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Alsobrooks was openly frustrated with how few county residents were receiving vaccinations during a virtual meeting hosted by Maryland House delegations representing Prince George’s County and Baltimore City. During an impassioned plea to state leaders, she requested their help with getting more doses to county residents.
“I could use words to characterize what that feels like to us — that it is unfair; that it is outrageous,” Alsobrooks said at the time. “But I think the numbers speak for themselves. Ninety percent of the vaccinations at a vaccination site in our county have gone to residents who do not reside there.”
She made it clear on Thursday that, “Right now, vaccine supply is the biggest limiting factor in us being able to quickly vaccinate Prince Georgians.”
Dr. George Askew, the county’s deputy chief administrative officer for health, human services and education, said that Prince George’s has the infrastructure in place to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day. However, the county is only averaging 1,800 doses per day, according to Alsobrooks.
However, Prince George’s has already vaccinated 7,500 people in the county this week, and it has also received an initial supply of 1,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
But there is still some vaccine hesitancy, particularly among the county’s minority residents.
“Unfortunately, the narrative has become that Black and brown residents are being vaccinated at lower rates because they don’t want the vaccine,” Alsobrooks said.
Askew noted that the efficacy for each of the vaccine’s — over 90% for Pfizer and Moderna and in the low 70% range for Johnson & Johnson — would be considered “tremendous” if it were inoculating against the flu.