A mass vaccination clinic run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will run from Easter through June in Greenbelt, a small city of about 23,000 located in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd said in a Monday interview that FEMA confirmed the site’s opening that morning. It will be set up at the Greenbelt Metro Station parking lot, he said, enabling access to Marylanders around the Washington Metro area.
“It’s a done deal,” Byrd said. “On the whole, this is a really good and positive development. But I wish it could’ve been done a lot sooner.”
On Wednesday, the White House said in a news release that the site would administer up to 3,000 shots a day at the Metro station, and would open next week. The administration has opened 25 mass vaccination centers throughout the country, which altogether can deliver up to 95,000 shots per day.
The administration selected Greenbelt as a partner because of its high “social vulnerability index” rating, a measurement of the support communities are likely to need before, after and during “hazardous events,” according to the release.
Prince George’s County lags the state’s 24 jurisdictions in vaccination rate. The majority-Black county currently has a state-run mass immunization clinic at Six Flags America in Bowie, but more appointments there have been secured by Montgomery County residents than those of Prince George’s County, state data shows.
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The county has seen more COVID-19 infections than any other jurisdiction, according to state data, and follows only Montgomery County in the total number of deaths.
Dennis R. Schrader, state acting health secretary, said the FEMA partnership underscores Maryland’s commitment to equity.
“Our goal is to make a vaccine available to every Marylander who wants one, and this gives us one more way to reach people,” he said in a statement.
FEMA has currently committed $220.7 million and deployed over 200 federal personnel to Maryland to support its vaccination operations, according to the release.
FEMA, run out of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been assisting in the nationwide inoculation campaign by providing funding, personnel and materials such as medical equipment. Some FEMA-supported sites have been doing up to 6,000 vaccinations a day, according to its website.
It was not immediately clear how many doses would be allocated to the Greenbelt clinic. Byrd said he hopes it will primarily serve some of Greenbelt’s most at-risk and hard-to-reach communities, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions.