After last week’s revelation that residents from other jurisdictions drove to Prince George’s County to receive coronavirus vaccinations, the county will cancel those appointments and designate most of those spots for senior citizens and workers within the county.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said during a press conference Monday that county health officials will now check for proof of residency and employment in the county.
“I just want to send out an apology to everyone because I know it caused great concern, great consternation as it should have,” she said. “When we realized so many were taking up appointments that were intended for Prince Georgians, we made adjustments there.”
Alsobrooks said the problem occurred due to a state website that allowed people to schedule vaccine appointments but didn’t prohibit individuals from other jurisdictions from signing up and traveling anywhere in the state to receive them.
For those who already received the first dose and scheduled an appointment to get the required second dose in Prince George’s, the county will honor those appointments.
So far, the county health department has opened the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Complex in Landover for residents and employees who work in the county to have a coronavirus vaccine administered.
To expand access for vaccinations, training personnel to administer the vaccine has begun at the Southern Technology Regional and Recreation Complex in Fort Washington.
Ernest Carter, chief health officer for the county, said a third site will open in the northern part of the county, though it’s undetermined when it would open.
Carter and other health officials in the bigger jurisdictions throughout the state have requested more COVID1-9 vaccines are needed to administer more shots. They also said there hasn’t been much help from the previous Trump administration to distribute vaccines to the state.
“If we had an adequate supply and we had a national distribution plan … but we have neither,” Carter said. “So we have to do it this way to ensure that our Prince George’s County residents get vaccinated.”
As of Saturday, Prince George’s has received 18,000 doses. The county estimates about 95,000 people represent phase 1B that include people ages 75 and older, educators, primary care physicians and residents and staffers in assisted-living and group homes.
Teachers are available to receive vaccines as early as Saturday. A previous date had school personnel to start receiving them Feb. 1.
Neighboring Montgomery County, which has more than one million residents, has received nearly 27,000 doses. The county ranks second in the state with the most confirmed coronavirus cases behind Prince George’s.
Shots being administered for those in phase 1A include front-line health care and emergency workers and residents and staff in nursing homes.
Appointments in Prince George’s can be made right now for individuals in phase 1C, the third and final part of the state’s first phase of the vaccination rollout, include adults ages 65 to 74, public safety and health workers not covered in phase 1A and other essential workers such as those at grocery stores, postal service and public transit. People can register online at mypgc.us/covidvaccine.
Meanwhile, the county’s coronavirus metrics have improved enough to allow indoor dining to resume starting Friday, though only at 25% capacity.
The county’s positivity rate decreased to 9.2% and the infection rate fell below 1.0 at .93, which assesses how many other people are infected by the coronavirus.
About 44% of the hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.
Carter reiterated that residents can help decrease the figures even further by wearing masks over the nose and mouth, standing six feet apart from each other when outside, limiting gatherings to household residents only, keeping hands as clean as possible and getting the shot “when it’s your turn.”