As Maryland marks its greatest number of new COVID-19 infections in a 24-hour period, members of the National Guard are inoculating Frederick County residents with the best defense against the virus.

On Tuesday night, Maj. Tahir Chaudhery, a physician assistant, filled syringes with the COVID-19 vaccine that were quickly whisked away by medics. The line at the Emmitsburg Senior Center stretched out the door into the parking lot around 5 p.m. at the walk-in clinic.

Chaudhery methodically drew liquid from vials labeled in red, blue and purple for the three types of vaccines. With each draw, Chaudhery jotted down the lot number on a sticker and stuck each label to its corresponding syringe. The stickers would end up on each person’s vaccine card.

“Safety is paramount of our mission,” he said.

States across the U.S. have been calling on the National Guard to help with vaccinations.

The Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force (VETF), led by Maryland National Guard Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, is working with the state’s 24 local health departments to focus COVID-19 vaccination efforts on “underserved, vulnerable, and hard-to-reach populations to ensure the equitable delivery of vaccines,” Dennison wrote in an email.

The county health department has been working with the VETF/Maryland National Guard since late spring, Dennison said, and he views the National Guard’s work as essential. National Guard units have helped with vaccinations in Thurmont, Brunswick, Emmitsburg and other locations in the county, Dennison said.

“This just allows us to get out in the community a lot more effectively,” Dennison said. “They’ve been a great partner in this effort.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Maryland health officials reported 6,218 new COVID-19 cases, The Baltimore Sun reported. Individual cases for the county were unavailable. Frederick County’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 67 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Monday, the most recent data available.

With rising cases in mind, Ja and Fred Merkel and their daughter Jessica came to Emmitsburg from Frederick to get their booster shots Tuesday. Fred Merkel said they’re planning a small holiday get-together with immediate family in light of the virus.

“I tend not to go out,” he said.

As an economist for the federal government, Fred said he’s been able to transition to working from home. His wife Ja, however, works in the restaurant industry. She said the vaccine gives her “peace of mind” while she works.

Emmitsburg resident Jon Pfefferkorn also came for an extra dose.

“I figure it’s time to get a booster,” he said. “Better to be safe than sorry.”

Working as an auto mechanic, Pfefferkorn said he hasn’t been as busy since people seem to be driving less.

For Pfc. and medic John Goldsborough, who recently joined the National Guard, his entire military career has been centered around getting shots in arms since he finished his Advanced Individual Training in March.

“This has pretty much been my full-time job since I got back,” he said.

As Goldsborough spoke of the work that goes into the vaccination clinics, seven other National Guard members bustled around the room from patient to patient.

“This is a very good team,” Goldsborough said. “We all pull our weight.”

Sgt. First Class David Smith, who led the team Tuesday, said serving the community is what they’re trained to do. Smith’s words quickly turned to action as he noticed a man at the clinic show signs of illness. Smith hustled over and checked the man’s pulse.

Capt. Jennifer Alston, a public affairs officer, watched as Smith and other members of the National Guard provided care.

“We’re in the community. We serve the community,” Alston said. “This is what we do.”

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller

(14) comments

Who are the vaccine holdouts? America's real COVID divide might not be what you think

It's complicated.......but not really

The significance of age as the best predictor of vaccine refusal suggests that much of the population, disproportionately concentrated among those younger than 65, have discounted the dangers of COVID-19, viewing it as something that only threatens the elderly. This belief is grossly ignorant, considering that one-quarter of the 800,000 U.S. COVID deaths as of December, or 200,000 people, were people younger than 65. Despite the evident dangers faced by Americans of all ages, anti-vax sentiment persists in the face of the most devastating pandemic in a century — and the prospect that new variants will continue to reduce the efficacy of vaccines and guarantee prolonged viral spread well into the future.

Also I saw this as well...see I do more than just watch TV...I also read.

Game Changer: Researchers At Walter Reed To Announce Vaccine That Is Effective Against COVID And All Variants

A big breakthrough on the coronavirus pandemic could be coming in weeks as researchers at Walter Reed will announce a new vaccine that is effective against COVID and all variants.

Defense One reported:

Within weeks, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research expect to announce that they have developed a vaccine that is effective against COVID-19 and all its variants, even Omicron, as well as from previous SARS-origin viruses that have killed millions of people worldwide.

The achievement is the result of almost two years of work on the virus. The Army lab received its first DNA sequencing of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020. Very early on, Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch decided to focus on making a vaccine that would work against not just the existing strain but all of its potential variants as well.

The vaccine still needs to be tested on people who have gotten vaccinated, or have gotten COVID, but this is a huge step.

A universal vaccine that could protect against current and future variants would be a game-changer in the pandemic.

The problem of getting people to take the vaccine will remain as long as it is optional, but the good news is that the potential end of the pandemic could be closer than anyone imagined.

Life may yet return to normal, and that could be the best holiday gift that the world could ever want.


I doubt the Walter Reed vaccine, which is made by a company in Germantown, will be available in the US, but it will likely be used in Europe very soon. Like the other vaccines, it is based only on the spike protein, so I don't think it will be more broadly protective than the other vaccines.

I was hoping you would comment back because of your background, because I was skeptical because we have not heard much about this “vaccine” and so if this vaccine was going to be available anytime soon it would have been on MSNBC and I haven’t heard a peep from them….yet? And your comment is probably why….


It is a recombinant protein vaccine, which makes it more conventional than the RNA and adenovirus vaccines, but it is still awesome. The protein is produced by a moth cell line using an insect virus vector, and it uses an adjuvant (immune system activator) purified from the bark of a South American tree. But the really unique part of this vaccine is that it uses a human protein, ferritin, to make a "nanoparticle" with many copies of the spike protein bound to each ferritin molecule. Plenty of fodder for science fiction writers and the anti-vaxxers who cannot distinguish science fiction from reality.


They want to use spike proteins from multiple variants, making it a "universal vaccine", but some is true of the other vaccines. I am not sure if that is the version that will soon be used in Europe.


"In September a massive study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found no discernible relationship between levels of vaccination and COVID-19 case rates."

The following contains the jab stats vs infection rate for each state:

Idaho Has the Lowest Vaccination Rate but Doing Better Than Many States With the Highest by Daily Veracity, December 19, 2021

How long will it take for everyday people to admit that jabs are pointless for health purposes?

"For the 2nd time this month, a cruise ship with fully vaccinated adult passengers and crew detected a COVID-19 outbreak. 48 people aboard a Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, tested positive for COVID on Saturday after returning from a week-long cruise."

COVID Outbreak Hits World's Largest Cruise Ship (12/2021) - Tyler Durden & NBC Miami

The British Lancet can be considered the UK's "Journal of the American Medical Association"

Letter from researcher Günter Kampf that was published in The Lancet DESTROYS false narrative of covid vaccines, revealing vaccinations are PERPETUATING the pandemic.

"Biden will mail 500M free COVID tests to homes!"

Wow-wee Biden! I'm sure this has nothing AT ALL to do with the CDC's written requirement here at their own website to STOP using all PCR tests (which they've known all along can't discern between CV19, SARS & ordinary flu!) by 12/31/21...

I don't see your point Art...then again I never see your you have a point?

I see you are back using the Art identity today...? Cool....I guess you want everyone to notice you are back to being your old self?


Come on Art. I just went to your CDC reference, and your claims about the PCR tests are nonsense. The PCR test for Covid is very specific. What your website is suggesting is that testing be done for flu and Covid at the same time - multiplex testing to aid in differential diagnosis of Covid and flu. Comprende?


Charge the cost of the mobilization to those who believe it is their right to remain unvaccinated.




I wish this article would tell us how many unvaccinated are showing up to finally do the right thing.


Right on, md1980. Hard to believe people refuse to take advantage of a safe and proven vaccine for a known disease.

I think I may have answered your question...md1980 just scroll up..^^^^^

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