CommunityCoronavirusCovid-19Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Maryland Expands Coronavirus Vaccine Locations to Retail Pharmacies

Karen Strayhorn wasn’t sure about getting a coronavirus vaccine after she tested positive for the virus in November.

But the 76-year-old District Heights resident said she already gets a flu shot, “so why not get this shot?”

After scheduling an appointment online last week, Strayhorn sat inside the pharmacy at a Giant supermarket in District Heights Wednesday and received the vaccine.

“I feel good, praise the Lord,” Strayhorn said a few hours after receiving the vaccine. “I hope I don’t get [the coronavirus] again.”

Strayhorn and others who waited inside the pharmacy area were greeted by a few dignitaries that included Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Hogan’s appearance promoted the state’s working with Giant and other pharmacies to help administer vaccines. As of Tuesday, the state has administered nearly 420,000 doses.

Hogan said the state now administers about 20,000 doses per day. The number is expected to increase with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide the state with $219 million to help with the ongoing vaccination plan.

Prince George’s County, which continues to record the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, will operate one of six mass vaccination sites in the state. Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro plans to be open Feb. 5.

As of Tuesday, the county’s number of confirmed cases stood at 66,527.

Alsobrooks, who received both doses of the vaccine, said some residents still express fear in being vaccinated.

“To have the governor come in and to reassure many of our residents that the vaccine is not only safe, but it’s available,” she said. “The governor has been vaccinated. It is safe. We encourage everybody … to join us and to be proud to be protected.”

In Prince George’s, residents can preregister and get notifications for when they are eligible to make an appointment and when vaccines become available at covid19vaccination.princegeorgescountymd.gov.

By next week, the state plans to have 48 participating pharmacies, including at Safeway, Rite Aid and Walmart and three Martin’s locations in Washington and Allegany counties. The pharmacies follow state guidelines, currently allowing only residents 65 and older and essential workers to get vaccinated.

All county and Baltimore City health departments can provide vaccines for residents in their jurisdictions only.

Local officials are encouraged to have residents receive vaccines at local pharmacies.

However, there are no residency requirements for pharmacies since they are part of the state’s network that receives its vaccine supply from the federal government.

“The reason why we offer 22 sites over the state [is] to increase accessibility to those in that community,” said Samir Balile, clinical programs manager for Giant pharmacy.

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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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