A District Heights, Maryland, resident sitting inside a vehicle prepares to receive a coronavirus vaccine during a drive-thru community clinic outside First Baptist Church of District Heights on March 20. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** A District Heights, Maryland, resident sitting inside a vehicle prepares to receive a coronavirus vaccine during a drive-thru community clinic outside First Baptist Church of District Heights on March 20. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

With Maryland readying to fully open access to coronavirus vaccines, the state health department announced Monday additional doses will be distributed through next month.

Nearly 52,000 doses will be made available for the 23 county and Baltimore City health departments, which will receive them on a “pro rata” basis, or based on population.

Montgomery County, the state’s largest jurisdiction with more than one million residents, will receive the most doses with 8,000. Prince George’s County will get the second-most with 6,900, followed by Baltimore County with 6,300.

The state health department noted allocations to local health departments increased by 50% since Feb. 8.

The state will begin Phase 2 of the vaccine roll out Tuesday for those ages 60 and older who can pre-register at one of the six statewide mass vaccination sites.

“We are in a race to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said Monday during a weekly briefing with a Senate work group.

First Baptist Church of District Heights hosts a drive-thru coronavirus vaccination clinic on March 20. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Schrader informed the work group the state could receive between 300,000 to 400,000 doses by 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.

On March 30, Phase 2B will begin, with eligibility for Marylanders 16 and older with medical conditions and severe illnesses.

Phase 2C, which begins on April 13, will permit those 55 and older to get vaccinated, as well as workers in the utility, transportation and infrastructure fields.

Two weeks later on April 27, all Marylanders ages 16 and older become eligible for vaccination.

However, data presented showed at least 30% of residents 70 and older still haven’t received vaccinations.

Schrader said community providers and the state’s preregistration site (<a href=”https://onestop.md.gov/preregistration” target=”blank”>https://onestop.md.gov/preregistration</a>) will help prioritize people in that age bracket to receive vaccines.

“They’re going to have head-of-the-line privileges in any regard,” he said.

State data continues to show a low number of doses provided for certain jurisdictions. Prince George’s County has the state’s second-highest population and the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, but ranks last with 23% of its population vaccinated.

In terms of race, more than twice the number of white residents have received at least a first dose than Blacks.

Although the state’s Vaccine Equity Task Force assists local health officials to vaccinate residents at churches, community centers and hard-to-reach areas, Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) said allowing more people to become eligible for vaccinations will hamper those communities.

“Some of what I see is that the efforts to vaccinate have really been focused on reopening the economy and the vaccination system that has been developed seems like it’s supporting white, affluent, tech-savvy, working-from-home Marylanders [who] are getting their vaccines first,” she said. “Simply going to churches and having PSA announcements is just not at all sufficient to addressing the growing [inequity]. … There’s quite a lot of concern I have about how we’ve proceeded over the last 11 weeks.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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