Montgomery County asks for more doses, thousands of residents traveling out-of-county for shots


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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — As some state-run mass vaccination sites in Maryland are seeing low turnout rates and opening up more walk-up appointments, Montgomery County continues to see high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.

County leaders say if other parts of the state don’t want the doses, Montgomery County has people willing to take them.

“We’ve got people signed up who are ready to get vaccinated. We feel that it would help speed up our reopening. We’ve got people who are waiting. We don’t need to open up to walk-ups to fill our clinics,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

Elrich says every day thousands of Montgomery County residents are crossing county lines to get their shots.

“Over a thousand Montgomery County residents per day are going to Six Flags in Prince George’s and to M and T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. 900 are going to the FEMA site in Greenbelt. 650 people are going to the Hagerstown site. Over 250 people are traveling to Charles County,” said Elrich, citing data he says he received Wednesday morning.

Vaccine hesitancy doesn’t seem to be a problem for Montgomery County, as nearly half of its residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

WDVM’s Randi Bass asked health officials why they think Montgomery County residents have been so willing to get their shots.

“There’s a significantly high scientific literacy rate in Montgomery County. People will take to the science and recommendations of public health leaders, both on a local level and a national level. We see it in our COVID numbers, too. We have a population that’s willing to follow the guidance and the guidelines,” said Dr. Earl Stoddard, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Dr. Stoddard also attributes some of Montgomery County’s willingness to get the vaccine to it’s liberal political leanings. He says some of the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy are among those who identify as politically conservative.

Dr. Stoddard says 45,000 pre-registered Montgomery County residents are still waiting for appointment invitations and hundreds more residents are pre-registering every day.

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