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As Mass Vaccination Sites Close, Baltimore To Focus On Mobile Clinics

Dr. Letitia Dzirasa giving an update on COVID-19 vaccinations Friday. Credit: Charm TV Baltimore
Dr. Letitia Dzirasa giving an update on COVID-19 vaccinations Friday. Credit: Charm TV Baltimore

Baltimore City is ramping up mobile vaccination efforts as the state begins closing its mass vaccination sites.

Mayor Brandon Scott said Friday the city has hit a “major milestone,” setting up 200 mobile vaccination clinics. Those clinics serve communities with the lowest vaccination rates.

“Mobile efforts will continue in a big way across our city moving forward,” he said at a COVID-19 briefing.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday the state would close the M&T Bank Stadium site, one of two mass vaccination sites in the city, on July 2.

The state has yet to confirm a date for closing the site at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa also announced that the city health department is closing its own mass vaccination site at the Baltimore City Community College.

“We've always known that the summer would be focused on mobile and pop up clinics,” she said. “Closing the health department's mass vaccination site allows us to redirect staff and resources to support an increase in the number of mobile and pop up vaccination clinics that we can host throughout the city.”

Dzirasa said that while mass vaccination sites have been “fast,” they have not always been “fair.” Shifting focus to mobile clinics, she said, would allow them to meet residents “where they are.”

As of Friday, more than 55% of adult residents have gotten one dose. Dzirasa estimates that the city will reach 65% —the target for lifting the indoor mask mandate — in mid-July.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.