Montgomery County officials address vaccine questions, frustrations in town hall

Maryland

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery County Council held an open forum Thursday evening to update the community on local vaccination efforts.

More than 137,000 county residents, or about 13% of the population, have received their first dose.

The panel urged people to have patience as hundreds of thousands of residents in the 1A through 1C eligibility groups continue to struggle to get an appointment.

“It’s creating confusion, and the lack of vaccines is leading to a lot of disappointment,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said. “We understand that, we hear you, and we’re doing everything we can to get the government to increase our share of the supply

Multiple barriers were discussed, which included limited supply and accessibility difficulties for senior citizens and black and brown communities. County health officer Dr. Travis Gayles said the state fell short in its vaccine rollout, but they are doing their best to get shots in arms as quickly as they receive them.

“At the end of the day, we as a state have not put out a product that meets the needs of our constituents, and that’s not good enough and not acceptable., so I’m sorry for that,” Gayles said. “We will continue to do our part to improve the process and make sure we increase the opportunities for individuals to get the vaccine and have added protection in the community.”

Dr. Gayles answered questions about where certain groups of people fall in terms of eligibility but said there is no timeline for when people will get their turn.

Montgomery County is pushing to get a mass vaccination site of their own, but Executive Elrich says if it does, the doses should not come out of the county’s current supply.

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