But there’s a limited supply of vaccines.
Frederick, Md (KM) A plan is in place in Frederick County to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone who wants it. But County Executive Jan Gardner says the county has a limited supply of doses. “Vaccine distribution will take months,” she said. “And from my standpoint, the limitation there is we have very, very limited supply of doses of vaccine.”
Speaking during her public information briefing on Thursday, Gardner said her main goal is getting as many county residents vaccinated as possible. “Certainly, distributing vaccines is our top priority; it’s job number-one. It is our path to beating the virus,” she said. “And once we get a majority of people vaccinated, we can slowly begin to return to something more normal. That is months away.”
Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer said the local Health Department has received 5,800 doses of the vaccine. “And we are starting to receive our second doses. Our appointments through Saturday of this week–all of our appointment slots–will have used up all of the first-dose vaccine that we have received,” she said.
All counties in Maryland received their vaccine doses from the state, which receives those vaccines from the federal government.
On Thursday, Governor Larry Hogan announced that Phase 1B of the vaccination plan will begin on Monday, January 18th. That group includes Maryland residents 75 and older; residents of assisted living and independent living centers: persons in behavioral and developmental disabilities group homes; high risk incarcerated individuals; teachers K-12; support staff; and child care providers.
Maryland’s chief executive also said Phase 1C would begin on Monday, January 25th. That includes public health an safety workers; and essential workers in food and agricultural production; manufacturing; the US Postal Service; public transit; and grocery stores.
County Executive Gardner said anyone of these groups who wants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 needs to make an appointment. “So people are going to have to schedule their vaccinations,” she said. “Some people think we’re going to do it like going to the pharmacy and get a flu shot. It has to be scheduled.”
Dr. Brookmyer said there’s a good reason for that. “Part of that is due to concern about individual safety. We are trying to help people to be able to maintain their distance and avoid crowding,” she said. “But also this is how our vaccine allocations will occur in the future is based upon the appointments that are actually scheduled.”
To schedule an appointment, go to FrederickCountyMD.gov/CovidVaccine. You’re encouraged to use Chrome instead of Internet Explorer.
But no matter when you get the vaccine, Dr. Brookmyer says there will be no charge to patients. “The online scheduling system that is used does ask for insurance information. But we are not billing for the cost of the vaccine. We’re not billing for the administration of the vaccine. And we’re not billing for the clinic visit,” she says.
Dr. Brookmyer says it’s hoped that in the end, the cost of the vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.
By Kevin McManus