Hundreds in St. Mary's Get Moderna Vaccine

Photo: The County Times. Photo: The County Times.

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (December 31, 2020)—The county's chief health officer said vaccinations of front-line health workers, first responders and the most vulnerable elderly populations in long-term care facilities were receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week.

There were 319 vaccinations performed at the clinic at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 29, said Dr. Meena Brewster, health department director, which was in addition to the 430 already vaccinated in St. Mary's in the few days prior.

The health department was keeping vaccination data and making it available to the public through their website, Brewster said, but the data could be delayed by as much as a day.

This meant that actual vaccination numbers could be higher.

"We anticipate by the end of the week we'll be well past 1,000," Brewster told The County Times on Wednesday. "It's a great start; we just need more vaccine."

The numbers the health department collated included those vaccinated at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital, at long-term care facilities vaccinated by pharmacy partners, and at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

Brewster said the local health department's supply of vaccine would likely be completely used by the end of this week, given that several hundred front-line workers and first responders had already been scheduled for further inoculation.

"It's a lot of partners at the table working, but when they do good things happen," Brewster said. "We're fortunate we work well together."

Vaccines were still slow in coming to other high risk groups, though.

Sharon Murphy, director of the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, where there is an active outbreak, said vaccines were not set to arrive until Jan. 13.

"We have so many residents and staff that they [the Maryland Department of Health] is still coming up with a plan for us," Murphy said.

The first phase of vaccinations has been divided into three distinct parts, Brewster said with phase 1A going for perhaps another two weeks.

Phase 1B will include residents who are 75 years old and up, which represents about 6,000 people here, she said, as well as educators, child care workers and farm workers, according to recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The state was still receiving recommendations on vaccine recipients from county health officers, Brewster said, as it continued to formulate its plans for Phase 1B.

"That represents a large number of people," Brewster said. "We could be in Phase 1B for quite a few weeks."

Phase 1C recipients could be closer to the general population but mostly those with medical conditions that would put them at serious risk if they contracted the novel coronavirus as well as critical infrastructure workers such as those in public utilities.

Those in age group of 65 to 74 years old would also likely be included.

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