Maryland's first two COVID-19 mass vaccination sites open Friday – one at Six Flags America in Prince George's County and the other at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Gov. Larry Hogan called the move, “another critical step forward in the plan that has taken us from 2,500 shots a day to 25,000 shots a day in a matter of weeks.”
Hogan and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks visited the Six Flags site for its soft launch Friday morning at 11 a.m.
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Although the site will be open to all Marylanders, the doses – at least for the next several days – are spoken for.
State officials have coordinated with Prince George’s County to conduct outreach for a subset of individuals who have pre-registered for appointments. Additional appointments through Monday, Feb. 15 will be made available to all eligible Marylanders once pre-registered individuals are scheduled.
About 250 people are expected to be vaccinated daily for the next few days at the Six Flags site. Eventually about 2,000 people will be vaccinated every day, Hogan said.
Once supply from the federal government ramps up, about 6,000 doses will be administered at the site daily, officials project.
Coronavirus Cases in Maryland by Zipcode
Data for ZIP codes with 7 or fewer cases is suppressed.
Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
"Due to high demand and very limited supply from the federal government, appointments are expected to fill up quickly," officials notified in a statement.
Hogan and Alsobrooks spoke about communities of color being resistant to take the vaccine and the ongoing efforts to vaccinate Black and Brown communities at the press conference Friday
“We’re not going to grow impatient because people are afraid," Alsobrooks said. "That’s our job – it's to make people feel comfortable. It’s important for all of us to be protected and helped and we’re going to continue to do that.”
“We all know that there are some trust issues,” said Brigadier General Janeen L. Birkhead, Maryland’s Chief Equity Officer for vaccine development. Outreach to communities who are wary of taking the vaccine will be consistent and use a grassroots approach, she said.
“It's not a one shot,” Birkhead said.
“We are rapidly building a statewide distribution infrastructure as we anxiously await the additional supply that is so desperately needed," Hogan said in a statement released Thursday. "We are prepared to deploy whatever supply the federal government is able to provide.”
As of Friday, nearly 1 million doses of vaccine have been distributed in Maryland. Just 1.7% of the population has been fully vaccinated, but 7.7% have received their first dose, according to CDC data.
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.