Walk-up appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available at the M&T Bank Stadium mass immunization clinic in Baltimore starting Friday.
The University of Maryland Medical System, a copartner of the state-run vaccination clinic, said some 200 appointments will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to increase access to appointments for those who lack internet access or digital skills. Walk-ups will not be available on Orioles day game dates, when heavy traffic is expected in the parking lots near the stadiums.
This is the third state-run clinic to offer walk-up appointments, following one in Salisbury and another in Hagerstown. Gov. Larry Hogan, speaking at a vaccine equity event at the football stadium on Tuesday, said the no-appointment structure had been working well at the Eastern Shore site, where records were broken over the weekend. Hundreds of Marylanders faced long lines for walk-up appointments at the Hagerstown site Tuesday, and some were turned away due to lack of vaccine.
The number of walk-up appointments could fluctuate over time, according to a Wednesday news release from the medical system. People who come for such appointments should be prepared to wait.
More appointment-free sites could soon come online as an influx of vaccine supply flows into the state from the federal government. Maryland vaccinators have administered over 3 million shots, according to state data, including over 1.9 million first doses and more than 106,000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. By the end of the month, 12 mass vaccinations sites will be operational.
Some estimates call for 80% of the country or more to get vaccinated as a pathway out of the coronavirus pandemic. That includes children, most of whom are not yet eligible for vaccines, and pregnant women.
On Wednesday, the Maryland Department of Health added Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett as the latest ambassador of its vaccination campaign, a roster than includes basketball legend Juan Dixon and University of Maryland, Baltimore County president Freeman Hrabowski. The department seeks to allay fears about the vaccine with a diverse array of speakers and promoters.
Corbett, a Black woman and the lead scientist for coronavirus vaccines at the vaccine research center at the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said she hopes to convey that the inoculations are safe and effective.
“No part of the clinical trial trajectory of this vaccine’s safety and effectiveness was compromised,” Corbett said. “We are eliciting really, really good and high-level immunity, and we’re hopeful for the long-lasting effects of that immunity.”