Baltimore County moved into Phase 1C of its coronavirus vaccine eligibility Wednesday and will add two new vaccine clinics as the state plans to open up the county’s Maryland state fairgrounds clinic as a mass vaccination site.
The county will focus on vaccinating those 65 and older, County Executive Johnny Olszewski said during a news conference. The 1C group also includes additional public health and safety workers and essential employees in a variety of industries.
Maryland is currently in Phase 2A of its vaccination eligibility plan, which includes school support staff, law enforcement, those receiving hospital care for certain illnesses and those living or working in group homes.
A new clinic at Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center in Dundalk’s historically Black neighborhood of Turner Station will begin offering appointments this week, and the Sisters Academy of Baltimore in Lansdowne, will start next week, county spokesman Sean Naron said.
The new clinics will be open one day a week and each are expected to vaccinate between 300 and 500 people per week, Olszewski said.
Locations for the clinics were based on data about underserved communities in the county, Olszewski said. White Marylanders have been vaccinated at greater rates than Black and Latino residents, and the county’s choice of clinic sites are a way to address the disparity.
“If you go into the communities, the folks in the communities will go to that location,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, county health officer.
More than a quarter of the county’s population has received their first shot, thanks in large part to the County Department of Health, its health care partners and three existing clinics, including the Cow Palace at the Maryland state fairgrounds, where between 500 to 700 people are receiving shots hourly, Branch said.
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That volume could be pushed up to 1,000 people each hour “based on our setup right now,” he added.
The expansion comes on the heels of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Tuesday announcement that the state is adding mass vaccination sites in Baltimore, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Harford and Howard counties.
Marylanders are expected to have access to shots at the fairgrounds site by the week of April 5. The county will still maintain operations at the clinic, which Hogan lauded for its efficiency during a tour of the facility last month.
“We want to continue to be that gold standard across the state,” Olszewski said just before receiving his first vaccine dose at the clinic.
The state will increase the county’s allotment from around 4,900 doses to about 6,300 doses per week, Olszewski said, although the state’s vaccine disbursement to local jurisdictions has generally not been static from week to week.
The county also has clinics at the Randallstown Community Center and the Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex campus.
Those who want to request a vaccine appointment may do so online or can call the county’s coronavirus hotline at 410-887-3816.