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Maryland Plans To Double Mass Vaccination Sites in April

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Sarah Y. Kim
/
WYPR
A worker administers a vaccine at the state-run mass vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Maryland plans to open six new mass vaccination sites, for what will be a total of 12 statewide, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.

The first to open will be at Montgomery College in Rockville and in Baltimore County, where the state plans to take over and expand the existing, Baltimore County-run vaccination site at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Hogan said to expect both sites will be open the week of April 5.

The following week, sites will open in Frederick and Anne Arundel counties, followed by sites in Howard and Harford counties by the end of April, Hogan said.

“We also continue to have ongoing discussions with other counties and other partners regarding potential additional vaccination site locations,” Hogan said.

He said he expects the 2,500 public and private vaccination locations in Maryland to grow to more than 3,000 as primary care practices and pharmacies begin administering vaccines.

To supply the growing vaccination program, Hogan said he expects a “significant increase” in doses from the federal government starting next week, though how much more is not clear.

“We see it’s going to be a pretty substantial increase, but we don’t have exact numbers,” Hogan said. “I mean, I think we were at 220-something-thousand. We could be at 350,000. But we won’t know for a few more days exactly what that allocation is going to be.”

All Marylanders at least 60 years old are eligible for vaccines now. Anyone 16 or older who has a disability or a medical condition that puts them at increased risk will be eligible March 30. People who will become eligible next week can pre-register now online or by calling 855-MD-GOVAX (855-634-6829).

Hogan urged everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one as soon as possible.

“These COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and they're administered under medical supervision,” Hogan said. “Getting vaccinated is absolutely vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and to returning to a normal life once again.”

In the meantime, people need to continue wearing masks, getting tested for COVID-19, and maintaining the safety precautions Marylanders have become accustomed to, said David Marcozzi, COVID-19 incident commander at the University of Maryland Medical System and an adviser to Hogan throughout the pandemic.

Marcozzi warned that one of the new variants spreading rapidly in the United States, B-117 “is spreading even more easily between us and making us sicker,” causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

“We aren't done fighting this virus yet,” Marcozzi said. “With continued public health vigilance and vaccination, Marylanders should be cautious but optimistic.”

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