HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — There are now six mass vaccination sites in the state of Maryland. Western Maryland’s first state-run COVID-19 mass vaccination site has begun operations at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets.
It’s estimated that 750 people received their vaccines on opening day. Captain Lisa Berry is the deputy site coordinator with the Maryland National Guard. She explained that as the site starts up, they look to ramp up vaccinations to at least 1,000 per day. The latest state-run mass vaccination site has the capacity to vaccinate around 7000 people at any given time.
“As we progress throughout the week, by next Wednesday, we will have vaccinated 11,700 citizens in Maryland with the Johnson and Johnson vaccination,” Cpt. Berry explained. “And then on Tuesday and Wednesday, we will kick out Pfizer.”
The state’s 6th mass vaccination clinic is the first to be lead by an all-female National Guard team. Cpt. Berry is joined by 1st Sgt. Sarah McIver and Sergeant Thais Rochard. The three women oversee the operations and National Guard soldiers assigned to the new vaccination site. Sgt. Rochard’s mobile vaccination unit has administered over 1,000 vaccines to Maryland residents all over the state.
1st Sgt. McIver is the senior officer of the site and is in charge of the 40 Maryland National Guard members. She explained that the soldiers control the flow of traffic as well as greet patients as they arrive for their vaccine. Soldiers also observe patients after they have received their vaccine and run vaccines from the preparation area to the administration area.
Sgt. Thais Rochard is a Maryland native who has been assigned to six other vaccination sites before her latest assignment to the Hagerstown Premium Outlets.
“It’s an honor. I’ve been in Maryland pretty much my entire life so it’s really great to be able to give back to such an amazing community,” Sgt. Rochard said, smiling behind her mask. “So I’m really excited to work with everyone and see so many different entities come together for the community.”
Governor Larry Hogan toured the facility alongside Washington County officials and Congressman David Trone.
“We’re finally seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, now that we’ve done 2.3 million vaccines but we’ve got some dangerous variants that are out there any one of which can cause additional problems,” Gov. Hogan said. “So I’ve said this before… It’s a race between vaccines and variants and so the faster we can get them in arms, the safer we’re all gonna be.”
In order to receive a vaccine at this location, you must be pre-registered on the state database. Walk-up requests will not be granted. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-855-MDGOVAX or 1-855-634-6829.