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Baltimore’s coronavirus vaccine registry to take sign-ups from all city adults, contact them as appointments open

Mayor Brandon Scott and Health Commissioner Dr. Dzirasa announce the start of a one stop covid vaccination website for city residences.

Baltimore has created a system to register residents 16 and older for coronavirus vaccination, and people on the list will be called as appointments become available for them, city officials announced Thursday.

The registry, which went live Thursday at covax.baltimorecity.gov, is a one-stop shop to get residents signed up for shots at city and partner locations such as hospitals, Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said at a news conference. She encouraged people to sign up by submitting their names and eligibility information.

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“We’re taking info so we can assign residents to vaccine appointments that become available, eliminating that step for them that can be confusing and very hard to navigate,” said Democratic Mayor Brandon Scott. “We hear that time and time again.”

The system is designed as an alternative to the state’s PrepMod vaccine registration system, which city officials have criticized. That system, which Maryland used before the pandemic for flu shots and other vaccinations, was blamed in February for an overbooking problem at the city’s vaccination clinic. As many as 25% of the city’s appointments for the month were mistakenly filled by people attempting to get a first dose of the vaccine, although Baltimore was only offering second doses at the time.

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City and state officials said people shared links with family and friends, and the system allowed those unintended recipients to sign up for appointments, creating the overbooking situation. Baltimore’s new registration system has personalized links.

The new registration system also replaces a system Baltimore used to allow elderly city residents to preregister for the vaccine. People who put their names on that registry will be transferred to the new one and do not need to sign up again.

Both Scott and Dzirasa pleaded with city residents to stay home during the coming holiday weekend. Baltimore has experienced a 143% increase in new cases of coronavirus compared to four weeks ago, Dzirasa said. Baltimore is averaging 29 cases per 100,000 residents, a higher rate than both the state and the country as a whole, she said.

Dzirasa said the most recent surge in coronavirus cases is different from past surges because millennials and members of Generation Z are the biggest contributors.

“Unless you have been fully vaccinated, you should not be celebrating holidays in person with those outside of your immediate household, and you should not be anywhere in public without a mask, whether you have been vaccinated or not,” she said.

Scott spoke directly to young city residents.

“You are not invincible,” he said. “You can end up on a ventilator just like your grandmother or your grandfather. This is not COVID as we knew it in the beginning. Young people get sick, too.”

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