The first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses, manufactured by Moderna, arrived in Montgomery County this morning at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
This initial shipment will be earmarked for County health staff engaged in managing the pandemic response.
The first group to receive the vaccine in Montgomery County is the core team of public health clinicians who will become responsible for vaccinating residents across the County once additional vaccine arrives.
The shipment that arrived today from the Maryland Department of Health is only a small fraction of the entire supply expected to ultimately arrive in Montgomery County and across the United States.
This first, small round of vaccine is in addition to the supply that the six hospitals across Montgomery County have or will receive directly from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). Once MDH receives vaccine from the federal government, DHHS will learn more details about how much vaccine the County will receive and when.
County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles will be among the first recipients this afternoon as the lead on the active response to the pandemic.
“I think the vaccines are safe, and are a new tool to help alleviate the burden of COVID-19 in our communities, particularly in those communities hit disproportionately,” said Dr. Gayles. “I want to be candid and transparent in sharing my experience with the vaccine to help address any concerns, questions, or anxiety around receiving it.”
Montgomery County is following the priority designations outlined by Governor Larry Hogan and that all Maryland counties will follow:
- 1A: Frontline health care workers, staff and residents of nursing homes, and first responders
- 1B: Essential workers and residents over the age of 75
- 1C: Individuals over the age of 65
The process for identifying the order by which all recipients within Priority Group 1A will be vaccinated will be determined by the quantity of vaccine the County receives and when it arrives.
The second priority group includes people in critical, essential infrastructure roles as well as those people at moderately higher risk of severe illness. The general public will have the chance to be vaccinated when the initial priority groups have been fully vaccinated. It is estimated that the general public will have the opportunity to receive the vaccination sometime in the spring of 2021.
In addition to County-operated vaccination clinics, when there is an adequate supply of vaccine, there will be additional places to get vaccinated, including physician’s offices and other primary care providers.
Health care providers in the County should complete this survey to let DHHS know how many of their staff may need coverage.