Every week, thousands of emails and phone calls pour into the office of County Executive Jan Gardner with some variation of the same question: When can I get my vaccine?

Gardner tries to answer as many of them as she can. But the volume far exceeds the amount of time she can devote to the effort.

Dinner gets pushed later into the night, and the weekend catch-up folder only seems to be gaining volume, not losing it, Gardner said. On Wednesday, she was able to squeeze in her first walk of the week for some exercise and a brief respite.

The great frustration she and everyone are feeling is there are no clear answers at the moment, only promises and hope for things to come. The vaccine supply is very limited right now, and there are far more people available to receive it than available doses.

So, when someone asks Gardner — “When can I get my vaccine?” — the honest answer in most cases is that she simply does not know.

“I got [an email] this morning from a lady who said she was up at 4 o’clock in the morning trying to get [online] with CVS. I am going to call her because CVS doesn’t have anything for her,” said Gardner, referring to one of the two pharmacies that is federally contracted to administer vaccines in nursing homes.

“She is just desperate to get a vaccine,” Gardner said. “She said she was just filled with anxiety.”

Right now, the Frederick County Health Department is vaccinating anyone in Phase 1A — first responders and licensed health care providers — and anyone 75 and older by appointment only.

There are millions of other people across the state eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B — those living in assisted living, group homes and other congregate settings, K-12 teachers and child care providers — and 1C, which is anyone 65-74 and essential workers at grocery stores, public transit and manufacturing companies.

But the county is proceeding more slowly with its vaccination effort due to the limited supply.

So far, the county health department has received 10,850 doses of vaccine and will have administered all of them by the end of the week, barring any appointment no-shows or cancellations.

Gardner and Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county health officer, said that no doses are being held back and none have been wasted so far.

According to the Maryland Department of Health’s online vaccine dashboard, 17,885 first doses of the two-dose coronavirus vaccine from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna have been administered into the arms of recipients so far in Frederick County. Meanwhile, 2,772 in the county have been fully inoculated against the virus by receiving the second dose of the shot.

The numbers include the doses being administered by Frederick Health Hospital and the county health department and potentially some of the doses being administered in nursing homes by CVS and Walgreens, though that is unclear. Gardner and Brookmyer believe the number of people who have been vaccinated in Frederick County is higher than what is being reported because they aren’t sure the numbers from the pharmacies are being reflected in the total.

The county health department has set up a call center to help people without a computer or internet access set up vaccine appointments, and created an online preregistration system for anyone interested in getting the vaccine.

Filling out the vaccine interest form does not get you an appointment. But it does mean you will be notified by the county when you become eligible to set up an appointment.

So far, 33,747 in the county have filled out the form.

“What’s important, I think, to point out is that if you preregister, that puts you on the waiting list. I don’t think everybody really understands that,” Brookmyer said. “I know on social media we’ve had to answer that question a couple of times.”

Despite the limited supply, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) reported that more than 30,000 doses of vaccine were administered Wednesday across Maryland, bringing the total number to nearly 450,000 in a state of 6 million people.

Hogan said the state’s daily average for doses administered over the past seven days is 22,135, which is a 64 percent increase over the last two weeks.

“While the spread of the vaccinations continues to increase, and our distribution network continues to expand, our supply from the federal government remains extremely limited,” Hogan said in a prepared statement. “I ask Marylanders to remain patient with providers as we work with the Biden administration to secure more doses for the state.”

This week, the county health department received 3,250 first doses, which is by far its largest shipment to date of the vaccine. But the size of future shipments the health department receives in the coming weeks is likely to be less unless production significantly ramps up.

More providers are coming online, including the Giant supermarket pharmacy on Kingfisher Drive, and everyone will be pulling from the same allotment the federal government designates for Frederick.

Through the emails and phone calls she receives, Gardner said she is often asked why she doesn’t set up more clinics to help the process move faster.

“That isn’t the issue,” she said. “The issue is no vaccine.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter:

@greg_swatek.

(17) comments

Awteam2021

WV being the best only demonstrates there wasn’t a well thought-out coordinated national plan. Incompetent “not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully”, right? - From production, delivery, distribution to implementation failings has only gained pointing fingers...

On February 26, 2019 President Trump boasted “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. - Almost a year later, now 25,800,000 million cases and 435,000 thousand deaths. I’m not pointing my finger at Hogan, not pointing my finger at Gardner but at Trump’s buffoonery.

gabrielshorn2013

No aw. That is not how it works. The Federal government contracted out for over 850 million doses of vaccine to five companies of a product that had never been produced, and many of the technologies were still experimental. The vaccine is coming online as the products are approved under EUA. Pfizer and Moderna (and their manufacturing partners) are cranking out vaccine as fast as they can, at 100% capacity. J&J is now applying for EUA, and will be online in about two weeks. They are all providing the vaccine it to the Feds, who then portion out the vaccine to the states according to population size, and then ship. The States receive their allotment of vaccine at a central location, and then distribute it to the County Boards of Health for administration to the population. That is how divided government is supposed to work. While the States and Counties may not be getting all the vaccine they may want, they are getting their fair share of the production that is available, and, as a biological manufacturing process, it takes time to manufacture the vaccine. All the political posturing, foot stomping, and holding your breath cannot speed up the manufacturing process of a FDA regulated product.. There is no warehouse full of vaccine to draw upon to fulfill everyone's needs immediately, nor could there be. It is shipped as soon as it is made. The States are having a problem with distribution and utilization, as evidenced by Governor Hogan's threat to the Counties to either administer what they have been allocated immediately, or potentially have their allocation shipped to localities in Maryland that are doing so. Frederick County was initially one of those that were falling behind, but it seems that they are getting with the program now. WV took the initiative and built a good distribution program, and are very efficient in their distribution (this was a story on NBC News the other night). Other states, such as Maryland, lollygagged and waited for somebody to tell them what to do, rather than figuring out their distribution plans as they were required to do. Our Board of Health in FredCo apparently took a cavalier attitude as to what would be needed for rapid deployment of the vaccine. Also remember, this was a novel virus that had never been seen before in man. The vaccine was developed, produced, and distributed in a few months in what previously would have taken several years. This speed is unprecedented.

Awteam2021

Dah ... I know how it works Gabe. It could have been better orchestrated from the get-go... from production to implementation under a centralized process. Yes the pharmaceutical industry has risen to the occasion. But at the same leaving it up to every municipality ( local government) to wing it was a mistake . The Country with the most number of deaths, in the most advanced healthcare network, wealthiest country in the world, with only 4% of the world’s population but 20% of the cases and 435,000 fatalities you don’t leave it up to local governments to manage it. That’s unprecedented.

gabrielshorn2013

Aw, a story for you about making vaccines:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/coronavirus/bs-pr-hs-making-more-vaccine-20210129-5dmn7hxib5dm3hyuiohxb7iibe-story.html?utm_source=onesignal&utm_medium=notification&utm_campaign=2021-01-29-Vaccines-made-i

Awteam2021

FYI, The discovery of messenger RNA (mRNA) and the cracking of the genetic code took place over decades of research by many groups in the US and Europe who unraveled how the genetic message gets from DNA to produce proteins. The first hypothesis dates back to the 1940s. The genetic code was finally broken in 1961.

gabrielshorn2013

LOL, yeah, I know a little something about that aw. [wink] However, the mRNA vaccine is new technology, being developed by Karinko and Weisman, who had to overcome a few obstacles. Check out their 2005 paper. Before the Pfizer vaccine, no mRNA vaccine was approved for human use, so this is new stuff.

Awteam2021

Don’t get me wrong. It was a herculean effort to develop the vaccines in such a short period. But no one woke up on March 15th, 2020 and had an epiphany. The past administration didn’t think things through the whole process. It does end with creation of a vaccine and delivering boxes 📦 to states. Biden’s administration will put that same competency, that same energy behind production to implementation. Rather then just dropping off vaccines at state mail boxes 📦 and saying “you are on your own”, it’s your problem.

Hayduke2

Was- despite some claiming that this is solely a state or local issue , numerous verified reports have confirmed that under Trump there really was no national plan for distribution, little coordination with states and no real accounting for the number of does/vaccine available. That, to me, is failed response to a National crisis by Trump and his VP who was also tasked with working on this issue. Hard to plan at a state or local level when you don’t get accurate information. Remember, the severity was downplayed right up to the election. Long response but I agree with your assessment.

gabrielshorn2013

Hay, General Perna, the lead on the logistics side would differ. Their job was to get the vaccine to the states, who have jurisdiction over health issues, and the states distribute the vaccine according to state procedures. This is no different than any other national vaccine program. Look to smallpox and polio as examples. I still remember lining up at the firehouse in NJ for my sugar cube, and the program was administered by our town's board of health. BTW, do you know who the Frederick County BoH is? It is the County Executive and the County Council. Not a medical professional amongst them, and they had not met for years before this, according to Dr. Barbara Brookmeyer. They never developed a distribution plan until the last minute..

Hayduke2

Then why would General Perna appologize - https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/12/21/22194085/gustave-perna-warp-speed-vaccines-apology-editorial OR https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/12/20/operation-warp-speeds-general-perna-apologizes-for-covid-19-vaccine-delivery-shortfalls/?sh=1ebc7e1454e3 Again, argue all you want but you can't plan for something if you don't have the information needed.

Frescobaldi

I really appreciate Jan Gardner's empathy for the citizens of Frederick County. Her description of a woman who ... "is just desperate to get a vaccine,” Gardner said. “She said she was just filled with anxiety” impressed me very much. Her dedication in the form of skipping walks and working weekends is very admirable, as I'm sure there a many top administrators who would delegate those responsibilities. Too bad the citizens can't volunteer to field some of the phone calls.

vodalone

WV is putting MD and most of the nation to shame when it comes to vaccine administration. WV has given out more than 81% of it's allotment, MD less than half, that's embarrassing. This rollout will be a stain on Hogan's record if he ever plans to run for higher office.

TSMGunner

I keep hearing that Frederick County is still in level 1A and see figures on how many does have been administered. Can someone please report on how many does are need to complete 1A? And then IB IC.. etc. We don't need to know about Jan Gardner's dinner times, every article doesn't have to be a novela. Stick to pertinent facts please.

sevenstones1000

Don’t plan to get vaccinated until the summer, and you won’t be disappointed. This is a mess.

gabrielshorn2013

The vaccine is being distributed to the states as soon as it us manufactured seven. The manufacturers and their FDA-registered contractors are running at 100% capacity.

This is a biological manufacturing process, and cannot go any faster. The single dose J&J vaccine will be coming online soon, so the supply will be increased by about 50%.

sevenstones1000

Yeah, if you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Planned scarcity drives up prices.

gabrielshorn2013

Drives up prices to whom? You get it free of charge. The Feds have already paid the manufacturers for the vaccine, and they provide it free to the states, who provide it free to the counties. All you need to do is show up at your appointed time.

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