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Anne Arundel health department to open two additional COVID vaccine clinics in south and west county

The Anne Arundel County health department will open two new coronavirus vaccination clinics this week in segments of the county lacking a nearby location for immunization.

The first site will open Thursday at the Lula G. Scott Community Center in Shady Side, and another will open this weekend at the O’Malley Senior Center in Odenton.

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Both sites will be permanent locations, but vaccinations will continue to be by appointment only.

The county is still vaccinating people through Phase 1B, including teachers and those age 75 or older. To preregister for an appointment, go to https://aacounty.org/covidvax or call 410-222-3663. If eligible, you will receive a link in your email or a call from the county health department to schedule an appointment. The county has discouraged link sharing, as each is designed for one person.

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The new locations will provide access to segments of the county previously without a clinic nearby. The health department’s two active clinics are in Hanover and Arnold. The state partnered with retail pharmacies to expand access points to the vaccine, choosing the chains with the most reach in Maryland, but the chains state health officials selected — Walmart, Giant, Safeway and Rite Aid — do not have locations in the rural parts of Anne Arundel County.

CVS and Walgreens, which get doses from the federal government, have participating locations in Dunkirk, Bowie and Chester, but none south of Rt. 214 within county borders.

“Particularly as the state moves more and more into the mass vaccination sites, our focus is really going to be on making sure that we are getting those who need the greatest help getting vaccinated to get vaccinated,” county health officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said.

Gov. Larry Hogan also announced an additional mass vaccination site at the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball stadium in Charles County, which will open by March 11. When the site is open, residents can sign up for an appointment using massvax.maryland.gov or calling (855) 634-6829.

The stadium will be the state’s fourth mass vaccination site in addition to sites at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro and the Baltimore Convention Center and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Charles County site will be run in partnership with the Charles County Regional Medical Center and with the support of Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hogan said. The federal agency does not provide vaccines but will help with immunizations.

Hogan said mass vaccination sites on the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland will open in “the coming weeks.”

The new clinics will create new access, but Maryland will still have to portion the same allotment of vaccines among all providers.

Over the last two weeks, Anne Arundel County has received about 8,475 coronavirus vaccine first doses, the bulk of which have gone to the county health department, according to data from the Maryland Department of Health. Giant pharmacies received 800 vaccines and county hospitals received 875.

The county health department will begin outreach in vulnerable and underserved communities in March, including COVID-19 testing sites, Kalyanaraman said.

“The idea is very much to situate testing in the community and have community members active in recruiting for vaccination, in helping to operate vaccination,” he said. “And it makes sure that we are improving those vaccination rates amongst Blacks and Hispanics and others who’ve been disproportionately affected.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Alex Mann contributed to this report.

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