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Return of Mass Vax Clinics planned in Baltimore County

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch. Credit: John Lee
Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch. Credit: John Lee

Mass vaccination COVID clinics are expected to make a comeback soon to meet the spike in demand once children from ages 5-11 qualify for the vaccine.

The Biden administration expects the green light for children could come next month. Once that happens, Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch wants to get shots in children’s arms as soon as he can.

“For the children, we are still back there like we were last year,” Branch said.

Plus, more adults will be getting booster shots. So, Dr. Branch said to take the coming vaccine load off family doctors and pharmacies, the county plans to bring back mass vaccination sites, like the one it ran earlier this year at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

“Because the sooner we get the vaccine into these children, the sooner we get the booster shots into all of these folks, we know that we are going to have less hospitalizations, less illnesses, and thereby less deaths.”

Baltimore County Health Department Spokeswoman Elyn Garrett-Jones said they are looking at a couple of sites now that could work as a mass vax clinic.

How big an operation it will be and how long it will last will depend on demand. Dr. Branch doubts it will be as large as the one they ran in Timonium.

“We were able to do a thousand per hour at that time. I may not have to do that many.”

The state is not planning on revving up mass vaccination sites again according to Andrew Owen, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health. But in a statement, he said the state is actively planning how it will dispense the COVID vaccine to children.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2