Vaccination update

Dear resident,

The prioritization strategy for COVID-19 vaccinations is carefully thought out, from the Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidance, through the State of Maryland down to Montgomery County.

But so far the results are mixed.

This past week the County received 8,600 Moderna doses and administered 6,485 in our County clinics. That leaves 2,115 doses on the shelf, despite the heroic efforts of our Public Health team.

Evidently early stage groups are not showing up at the rate expected; whether because outreach hasn’t been strong enough, people just need time to schedule, or they are hesitant. But the outcome is clear and untenable.

That is why I am urging County officials to open up Group 1B and begin making vaccination doses available to residents over age 75.

This will require coordination with the State Department of Health, so today I am reiterating that call, and asking Governor Hogan to direct his health team to revise the state strategy.

Administering doses to older patients should be easier. Verification is simple, and demand is high.

As I wrote previously, there are 73,000 Montgomery County residents over age 75. It would not be hard to draw from this group to fully administer all available doses.

Remember that hospitals are receiving their own supply of Pfizer vaccinations for health care workers affiliated with the hospital, and CVS and Walgreens are receiving their own supply to provide to residents of nursing homes and group homes. Both initiatives are also proceeding at an unacceptably slow pace.

We have to move faster. Starting to vaccinate residents 75+ would be a win-win.

Finally, for more detailed information on the priority groups and to sign up to receive email/text updates on vaccinations, please visit this website.

Hans Riemer