With the COVID-19 vaccination rollout set to accelerate, the Frederick County Health Department expressed concern Friday that the vaccine supply they are currently receiving from the federal government will not be sufficient as more people become eligible to get inoculated.

Thursday evening, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that Maryland would be moving into the next phase of the vaccine rollout, Phase 1B, on Monday, making anyone 75 or older — as well as anyone living in assisted living, group homes or other congregate facilities, K-12 teachers, support staff and child care providers — eligible to get the vaccine.

That’s in addition to anyone in Phase 1A — first responders, licensed health care providers and the staff and residents at nursing homes — who wanted it and had not received it yet.

The following week, on Jan. 25, Maryland plans to move in Phase 1C, which would allow anyone 65-74 to get it, as well as essential workers, including grocery store, public transit, agriculture and manufacturing employees, Hogan said.

On the heels of the governor’s announcement came a Washington Post report Friday that the national stockpile for the required second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was not what it was made out to be by the Trump administration and that allocations to states from the federal government would not ramp up as quickly as anticipated.

The report did say those in line for their second dose of the vaccine still should get it as scheduled since states are still receiving regular shipments.

But the revelation left health departments and hospitals across the state wondering how they would allocate future doses if the size of their shipments do not increase.

“We are concerned that the vaccine supply we are receiving locally will not be sufficient for the current interest by people in groups 1B and 1C,” said Rissah Watkins, the director of planning, assessment and communications for the Frederick County Health Department.

“We have chosen to not open appointments up until we have vaccine in hand because we do not want to promise vaccinations to people and then not be able to deliver,” Watkins said. “It is our goal to make appointments available every week for all the doses we have.”

On Friday, a long line stretched around the building at Butterfly Ridge Elementary School, where the county health department just opened a second vaccination clinic for those with appointments.

The Frederick Police Department and Frederick County Fire and Rescue were on hand to help with any traffic issues.

Many in line were 75 years old and older. The county health department gave them the opportunity ahead of the beginning of Phase 1B Monday because it wanted to make sure that all the doses it received this week were used, according to Watkins.

“The clinic was fully booked, and we had enough staff and vaccine. But today’s experience has given us more ideas of how to adjust our future clinics to be more efficient and a better experience for our community,” Watkins said. “We would like to ask our community to please only come to a vaccination clinic if you have an appointment. We are working on a call center to open next week to help people make appointments by phone. We also want our community to know that vaccine is still the limiting factor in how quickly we can vaccinate each priority group.”

On Friday night, the county health department issued a statement saying the long lines at Butterfly Ridge were partially due to technical issues with the state’s scheduling program that delayed the process and that the clinic “did not meet our expectations.” It said changes will be made.

“To those who had to wait in long lines, we appreciate your patience, and especially the assistance from Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services for providing port-o-potties and space heaters, and Frederick City and Frederick County Department of Public Works for helping with road closures and signs,” the health department’s statement read.

The county health department, in conjunction with the Frederick County Senior Services Division, will host a virtual workshop at 1 p.m. Tuesday over Zoom to give older adults and their family and friends step-by-step guidance to the online registration process for COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Maryland has administered 195,220 first doses of the vaccine, including an all-time high of 16,805 Friday, according to the state’s online vaccine dashboard.

At Thursday evening’s news conference, Hogan said the state is far outpacing the number of first doses it receives from the federal government.

“We get 10,000 per day. We are using 16,000 per day,” Hogan said. “So, we have to make sure we get those second doses or we are in big trouble.”

The state has administered 17,493 second doses so far, including 1,653 in the last 24 hours.

It will take 3 million doses of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines just to get Maryland’s 6 million residents their first shot.

So far, the state has received a little more than 560,000 doses, Hogan said.

“This is going to take a long time, a great deal of patience and a lot more vaccine,” he said.

Despite the concern about future supply, a Hogan spokesperson said Friday that the state will proceed with moving into the next phase of the rollout.

County Executive Jan Gardner announced the county was ready to move into the next phase of the rollout at her public information briefing Thursday morning.

“We are ready. We do have a plan in the county. We are ready to execute that plan,” she said.

Gardner did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday after concerns were raised about how quickly the vaccine supply would ramp up.

Fort Detrick begins vaccinations

Fort Detrick announced Friday that it had begun vaccinating its first responders and front-line health care workers against COVID-19.

“We all want to get back to normal and outside of social distancing, wearing masks and keeping the number of interactions to a minimum. This is the next step,” Fort Detrick Garrison Commander, Col. Dexter Nunnally, said. “It’s also an important step, and the vaccines currently available through emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are a result of the hard work of people worldwide.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(25) comments

phydeaux994

My wife and I just got an email from Frederick Health saying we were eligible and could sign up for an appointment. I just signed us both up and got confirmed appointments for Tuesday at the Frederick Health Crestwood Medical Building. They say they have 9 appointments every 10 minutes and it looked like they had dozens of appointments available. We’ll find out I guess.

wran

I tried to register for an appointment and got a message try again on January 25.

bosco

Fido, you do know that you'll be getting the Trump vaccine, don't you? Doesn't that bother you?

Comment deleted.
gabrielshorn2013

Its not.

threecents

Maybe best to pay CVS to run the operation from the health department locations.

threecents

It looks like somebody screwed up if that line is made up of people with appointments. This is a quick and easy shot in the shoulder - like the flu vaccine. I am guessing the holdup might be due to questionnaires, insurance forms, and other paperwork. And they want to make doubly sure each vial is prepared correctly to avoid possibility of getting prosecuted for wasting vials, as happened to a pharmacist in Wisconsin.

TomWheatley

or they showed up 2 hours early for a 5 minute vaccine shot. Someone should walk down the line and get them to line up in appointment order.

francesca_easa

Confusing. A recent news story talked about large numbers of folks skeptical about the vaccine and that vaccine dosages were going unused. Now we have a shortage????

threecents

Of course there is a shortage!!!!!!

Nicki

The people that called it a hoax and those that refuse to wear a mask or practice safety protocols should move to the back of the line. Remember: faith over fear.

wran

I knew Frederick County was going to bungle this badly. My 80 year old friends in Austin Texas got shots 2 weeks ago. Said it went unbelievably smooth with no glitches. Had appointments, in and out in 15 minutes. No lines.

sevenstones1000

One major problem with the online appointment sign up is that you must pick one date and time, then fill out a lengthy questionnaire, only to be told that appointment is not available, but there is no calendar to show you which appointments are available. So you must go all the way out and repeat the entire process. Over and over and over.

Come on, Health Dept. Find a bright fifteen year old who understands computers to design your program.

vjhughes

Heck, even a bright 12 year old could probably do it.

DickD

This should be no surprise that Trump lied about the vaccine availability, he lies about everything. Here's hoping all that want vaccination can get it this winter and spring. Trump doesn't care if you die, but we do. Thank God, Trump is gone Wednesday.

dabittle

"On Friday, a long line stretched around the building at Butterfly Ridge Elementary School, where the county health department just opened a second vaccination clinic for those with appointments." WTW!?!? Those heading up this vaccine should have five or 10 locations staffed with EMT's, Nurses, doctors and anyone trained in giving shots.

"We are working on a call center to open next week to help people make appointments by phone. We also want our community to know that vaccine is still the limiting factor in how quickly we can vaccinate each priority group.” WTW!?!? Those heading up this vaccine are just now working on a call center? Hello!?!? Health department officials knew this was coming, why are they now just "working" on a call center?

"The county health department, in conjunction with the Frederick County Senior Services Division, will host a virtual workshop at 1 p.m. Tuesday over Zoom to give older adults and their family and friends step-by-step guidance to the online registration process for COVID-19 vaccine appointments." Zoom calls for seniors?!?! Most seniors don't even know what a zoom call is much less have the technician savvy to participate in one. One line videos would do better!

Every high school in the county should be a vaccine center--since they're not being used for anything else! The Frederick County bureaucrats in charge of this vaccine rollout have had plenty of time--months--to prepare for this! It's now time to ACT or get out of the way and let those who can, get the job accomplished!

"

Dwasserba

I'm guessing there is insufficient trained staff? I do agree about zoom calls. A group of my scattered friends attempted this at New Year's and I ended up positioning my phone so one friend could see my tablet to participate from her phone the whole time. Last night just watching Youtube live at the same time as others, they were emailing things like: they couldn't get in, they don't want to subscribe (you don't have to), they can't hear anything (there was nothing to hear, for a lot of it was private prayer). My attempt at involving former Catholics 65+ who eschew everything about it but claim to like private prayer, just did not go well. Seniors give up or don't try. Frankly, I saw this photo and said nope. I am still only walking short distances for short times and getting physical therapy after breaking ankle and leg bones in a fall Sept 30. Kudos to seniors who can stand in non distanced lines for extended times anywhere, let alone outdoors in winter. That was me until recently. Sigh.

You need vaccines to vaccinate. See:

https://health.frederickcountymd.gov/629/COVID-19-Vaccine

gabrielshorn2013

Spot on dabittle. Local and State governments know that such programs are their responsibility, and should have planned the logistics from the beginning, not waiting for the final product to be delivered. The responsibility in our area would have been with the Frederick County Board of Health, who hadn't had a meeting in years according to Dr. Barbara Brookmeyer.

sevenstones1000

Turns out Trump lied and there is no reserve vaccine. Why am I not surprised.

Don’t plan on getting vaccinated til some time in the fall. Thanks Trump.

phydeaux994

How can they open the 1c group on Jan. 25th when they know they don’t have enough vaccine for the 1a and 1b groups yet?? The COVID-19 Task Farce!!

FrederickFan

The Governor set up an expectation that can't be met. Tens of thousands of people are in eligible groups and think they will be vaccinated soon but there is little or no vaccine. It will be a mess.

TomWheatley

No worries. It will be all fixed by Jan. 21st when millions of doses will be magically found in a Federal warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant. :)

What is missing on here is the length of time to manufacture the vaccine. You can throw all sorts of money at a problem, but that does not speed up the process.

gabrielshorn2013

Absolutely correct Tom. GMP-compliant FDA registered manufacturing capacity for vaccines distributed in the US is the bottleneck in this process. The time to manufacture the vaccine(s) is set and cannot be changed. You cannot make cells grow faster either. I spoke to a colleague in the supply chain, who said that if 5 billion doses are planned, and the average batch size is 100k vials, then 50k batches must be made. It may take a couple of years of dedicated manufacturing time for all of the vaccines either currentle approved under EUA, or in clinical trials with later approval to reach that number.

MRS M

Sad, they ought to be concerned. Alex Azar just admitted on NBC News that all the "back-up" vaccine is gone......i.e. has already been distributed. For you loyal Trumpsters...there's zilch, zero, nada....all MIA, just like your hero.

The incompetence, outright and disasterous hubris of Trump and his administration knows no bounds.....with Trump completely AWOL since months before the Nov. 3rd election, and Corona Virus Task Force leader Pence literally running for his life and in hiding from mobster Trump and his mob. So much for "warp speed". How about a warped, damaged, and dangerous president, and his freakish followers? They still think this is a "win".

Dwasserba

I want front line health and others like grocery store staff and teachers vaccinated and the rest of us can just hold our horses or die trying. We cannot lose more of our working age adults in general, maskless idiots or not, and now more children are infected than ever anticipated. I have waited for my turn in a pushing and shoving crowd to get a cab at the airport after a heavy unexpected snowfall, and I have seen humanity's ugly side in a crisis. Then once seated in a shared cab, the well dressed senior next to me started yammering that I lived too far from her to be in her cab. At the time I lived in Gaithersburg but it was irrelevant - we were dropping her off FIRST. When I looked out the back window, I saw her husband handing cash to the cabbie. Who took my luggage out of the trunk. The lady wished me well and sighed in relief. The cabbie gathered two other randos off the curb instead who pushed inside with her. Her face. Oh my. Off they went. I vowed not to be that old lady.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!