CoronavirusCovid-19Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

One-Third of Prince George’s Residents 16 and Older Now Vaccinated

Walk-Up Clinics Available

Prince George’s County has seen gradual progress in its effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, with one-third of residents 16 and older now fully vaccinated and fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases, county officials said Tuesday.

The county’s infection rate, which measures the number of people that each infected individual passes the virus along to, is currently below 1.0. Health officials said the figure should be .90 or lower.

During the week of April 25-May 1, the capacity rate of intensive care unit beds in hospitals stood at 52%. During that same time frame, positivity test rates were 4.3%. The figure ranks above the state average of 3.8%, but below the 5% benchmark for loosening restrictions on businesses and other activities.

“The end of the pandemic is in sight, but only if we get a number of our residents vaccinated,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said at a press briefing Tuesday.

The county opened a walk-up clinic Monday at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center in Landover with 500 doses available. Alsobrooks said about 160 attended.

Vaccines will be provided Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sports and Learning Center, Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center and the Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex in Fort Washington.

Additional hours to administer vaccines will be Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sports and Learning complex.

To put the vaccine effort “in overdrive,” the county plans to boost outreach efforts via automated phone calls, texting and social media.

To offer vaccines in hard-to-reach locations and convince those who remain undecided, county and health officials will canvas various neighborhoods in 12 locations with high numbers of confirmed cases, low vaccination rates and other socioeconomic factors.

Alsobrooks said an estimated 266,350 doors will be knocked on to distribute COVID-19 vaccine information and resources in municipalities and communities such as Bladensburg, Oxon Hill, Suitland and Mount Rainier.

Based on zip code, the Hyattsville area leads the state in the number of confirmed cases with nearly 5,400.

County officials, workers and volunteers plan to make 1.3 million phone calls and distribute 500,000 text messages.

“We are looking for you, if you are unvaccinated,” Alsobrooks said. “We just believe so strongly that this is the way forward for our community. We have one simple goal: to increase the number of vaccinated residents.”

Meanwhile, the county could receive word soon on vaccinating those ages 12 to 15.

Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a conference call to investors Tuesday that the company could “hear back shortly” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on authorization to administer its COVID-19 vaccine to that age group.

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last month for health officials to resume using the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Every vaccination counts,” said George Askew, chief health officer for health, human services and education in Prince George’s. “The more people who get the shot, the harder it is for the virus to spread from person to person.”

To register for a vaccinate appointment, go to https://covidvaccinereg.princegeorgescountymd.gov or call the county’s 311 line and press #.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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