MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County Council leaders held a briefing Monday to discuss the state of COVID-19.
The county is leading the way in terms of vaccination rates, with 99.1% of residents ages 12+ having received at least one dose of the vaccine, and roughly 89% in the same age bracket being fully vaccinated.
As the state prepares for residents seeking boosters and vaccinating the younger population, county officials are searching for more solutions to combat vaccine inequity this time around.
Council members say they are turning to community organizations to help prevent the inaccessibility of vaccines for African American residents.
“We need to continue to do what we’ve been doing at the grassroots level in partnership with our African American Health Program, our community clinics, and the black doctor’s network,” said Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz.
County officials are also taking steps to reach those in harder-to-reach communities, proposing offering vaccinations on weekends and evenings to accommodate working families.
“We need to ensure a robust network of transportation, so we eliminate some of those barriers that prevent people from accessing the vaccination,” said Albornoz.
Montgomery County is also focusing on administering booster shots to the senior population, which accounts for the highest percentage of hospitalizations.
“Our 70-79-year-olds… have a 25 per 100,000 rate of being hospitalized,” said Human Services Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager, Sean O’Donnell. “The current rate is triple what our younger rates are, but they have a much lower COVID case rate per 100,000.”
Now, as Pfizer requests approval for their vaccine for ages 5-11, council members say they are ready to begin administering the shot as soon as they get the green light.
O’Donnell says the state will be ready if the FDA approves boosters for Moderna and Johnson Johnson, with reviews scheduled to be held on Oct. 14 and 15.