Prince George’s Co. demands more help from state to get residents vaccinated

Hundreds of appointments for COVID-19 shots at Maryland’s Six Flags America mass vaccination site are being set aside just for Prince George’s County residents.

But there are calls for the state to do even more to help people who live in the county that has racked up the largest number of coronavirus cases and the second-largest number of deaths from the virus.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks spoke at a virtual hearing Wednesday about vaccine disparities in her county and Baltimore City. The hearing was hosted by Maryland House delegations representing both areas.

“Of the approximately 32,000 vaccinations that have been administered at the Six Flags site, an alarming 3,500 have gone to Prince Georgians,” Alsobrooks said. “I could use words to characterize what that feels like to us — that it is unfair; that it is outrageous. 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.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the governor’s office announced at least 500 appointments at the Six Flags site would be filled exclusively by county residents through text messaging registration. But Alsobrooks and the county’s delegation in Annapolis are demanding that entire days be reserved for county residents to get vaccinated at the location.

“We have come together today to raise our voices and say we want every single vaccine that belongs to us … our tax dollars have paid for it. And we’d like to just ensure that equity is achieved, that fairness is achieved, and that we are able to heal our residents like everyone else,” Alsobrooks said.

The group will also ask the state to provide support and staff for new vaccination sites to be opened at the University of Maryland in College Park and the First Baptist Church of Glenarden.

“We currently have 118,000 people who are preregistered in our county, on a waiting list, waiting to be vaccinated,” Alsobrooks said.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, who represents part of Prince George’s County, supports the demand to reserve entire days at the Six Flags vaccination site for county residents.

“Vaccination equity needed to be a priority for Maryland from the very beginning.” Brown said in a statement. “The fact that only now Gov. Hogan is releasing a plan to address disparities in vaccinations speaks to how disorganized and dysfunctional vaccine administration has been in our state.”

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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