People Who Don't Meet Montgomery County Vaccine Standards Cause Long Lines at Clinics

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People with appointments were turned away from a vaccination clinic in Montgomery County, Maryland, Thursday.

The line of people waiting in the cold stretched for blocks at Richard Montgomery High School.

The county was only serving people 75 and older. Teachers who are eligible by state standards for vaccination were told they don’t qualify by county standards and were sent home.

“We apologize for the inconvenience it caused for those who were scheduled who had to wait in line longer than they anticipated,” the Montgomery County Health Department said in a statement.  

Seniors are facing long lines in Montgomery County amid confusion over who can actually get vaccinated. Chris Gordon reports.

According to the health department, many people showed up at the Richard Montgomery clinic and a vaccination clinic at Quince Orchard High School who had made appointments through a forwarded link or did not have appointments. The health department said those links are only for the direct recipient and vaccines are administered by appointment only. 

“This is an example of what can happen when people share links – it results in frustration; it does not increase the number of people vaccinated, and it creates obstacles for equitable distribution,” the health department statement said. 

The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.

People said trying to get an appointment for vaccination online is exasperating. Barbara Moskowitz said she visited multiple sites for days to get her appointment.

“I just kept refreshing, 20, 30 times,” she said. “l’d go away, do something, come back, refresh 20,30 times, and much to my amazement, all of a sudden, it popped up.”

The state of Maryland has designated six mass vaccination sites. Montgomery County isn’t getting one.

It offered Gov. Larry Hogan the county fairgrounds to use but says that still wont solve the problem caused by the lack of vaccine doses.

“There’s no solution you get out of opening a fairground,” County Executive Marc Elrich said. “It won’t produce more vaccine.”

Hogan said Montgomery County has received 89,000 doses. Local health departments get 27%, and 73% goes to hospitals pharmacies and other providers.

“You hear, which we’ve heard over the past week or so, county leaders say, We only get X number of doses for our county. It's false,” Hogan said. “They're actually referring to what their local health department has received.”

The governor said if you’re eligible and the county can’t give you a shot, check with your local hospital, pharmacy or health care provider.

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