Montgomery County to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines to “severely impacted” zip codes

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County Officials met Wednesday to talk about their equity plan for vaccine distribution.

County Executive Marc Elrich voiced concerns with equity, saying it’s essential to create a plan for every community to have equal opportunities to receive the vaccine.

“We know that there are communities, particularly communities of color, whose historic relationship with the medical profession have not always led to them having trust in the medical profession,” he said. “… We’re taking steps to make sure that the people we vaccinate every week look like the community we are every week.”

Elrich said Maryland has not required providers to develop an equity plan, but the county will be creating its own and feels other areas should do the same.

The county’s vaccination plan for residents 75+ will target zip codes hit hardest by the pandemic, allowing them to be prioritized for appointments.

“Our framework is designed to ensure that vaccines are made available to those who have been most severely impacted,” Montgomery County Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Raymond Crowel said. “And also to make sure that we are attacking the virus where in the county it is attacking us.”

Zip codes will be prioritized by their number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the past 90 days, and sometimes a combination of the two when the cases are high within minority communities.

Crowel said the remaining doses will then be made available countywide.

“So it’s not cutting out any of the other zip codes, it is just prioritizing our attack,” he said.

The specific zip codes will be announced in the near future, according to Crowel.

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