Alexandria Briggs-Blake remains patient awaiting her turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Oxon Hill resident said she has no preference for which vaccine a health care worker would administer: the two-shot doses from Moderna or Pfizer, or the one-shot manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.
“My husband got the Pfizer [and] works for [Prince George’s County] as an essential employee. He is doing fine,” said Briggs-Blake, who conducts finance work for underserved communities in the D.C. region. “I also like the idea of not going twice with the one shot and be done with it.”
She represents thousands of county residents who pre-registered through the county’s health department website but eligibility depends on the schedule released by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
The first group under Phase 2A will be for those ages 60 and older starting Tuesday, March 23. They must pre-register for appointments at one of the state’s mass vaccinations sites. A sixth site will open in Hagerstown on Thursday, March 25.
Marylanders 16 and older with underlying medical conditions in Phase 2B become eligible March 30.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that phase will also include those with disabilities.
“The individuals included in today’s announcement represent some of the poorest and hardest to reach in our disability community,” Carol Beatty, secretary of the state Department of Disabilities, said during a press conference alongside Hogan in Annapolis. “I thank you, Gov. Hogan, for ensuring all Marylanders, including those of us with disabilities, have critical access to vaccinations.”
April 13 marks the eligibility for those in Phase 2C who are 55 and older. Workers in this group include those in financial services, transportation and construction.
Two weeks later, on April 27, all Marylanders ages 16 and older become eligible to receive a vaccine.
As of Tuesday, more than 2.2 million Marylanders received one or two doses. Approximately 801,385 people have been fully vaccinated.
An estimated two million Marylanders are eligible in the first phase of vaccine rollout divided into three parts.
Hogan also announced Tuesday six additional mass vaccination sites will open next month that include one April 5 in Montgomery County at Montgomery College in Germantown. The other five sites will be in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Harford and Howard counties.
Meanwhile, acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said Monday during a weekly briefing with a Senate work group the state could receive between 300,000 to 400,000 doses at the end of this month from the federal government. He said the state has “plenty of capacity” to administer up to 500,000 per week at the six mass vaccination sites, hospitals, mobile clinics and other providers.
Residents currently ineligible can still pre-register through these outlets:
(Maryland’s mass vaccination sites) https://coronavirus.marylannd.gov/pages/vaccine
(Prince George’s County) https://covid19vaccination.princegeorgescountymd.gov
Vaccinations are also available at participating pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, Safeway and Giant.
The state recently began a pilot program with 37 health care providers to help administer the vaccine with a focus on demographic and geographic equity. Some of the providers include county health departments, hospitals and primary care physicians.
“I would prefer to go to my primary care doctor,” Briggs-Blake said. “That would be ideal. I can always call and get a copy of immunization and other health records.
“More importantly, I want the 80-year-olds and 70 years old and teachers and grocery store workers and health care workers to go before me,” she continued. “I just want to be cognizant of that and just be patient and wait my turn.
Howard Haft, executive director of the Maryland Primary Care Program, said community providers provide a special relationship with their patients and address issues of vaccine hesitancy.
“They’re in the communities,” he said. “They have the ability to directly reach out to their patients in an equitable way and identify those who are in most need.”