Maryland Governor Larry Hogan toured the new Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force mass vaccination clinic in Upper Marlboro on Tuesday. State leaders hope it will help the county catch up with other parts of the state that have much higher percentages of vaccinated residents.
Hogan toured the vaccine clinic along with Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
The vaccine clinic is set up at First Baptist Church of Glenarden Family Life Center on Watkins Park Dr. The church teamed up with the county, state, and University of Maryland Capital Region Health to open it.
Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr. says the facility will start off giving about 200 doses a day, but within a couple of weeks, should be giving out a thousand a day.
The tour was followed by a Q & A session with the media and comes as the CDC reports that 22.1 percent of Maryland's population has received at least one dose of a vaccine.
"Thank you for hearing us," Alsobrooks said of the vaccine clinic and to the leaders who made it possible. "To Prince Georgians, help is on the way. We know we have a long way to go, but this is a wonderful start. We need this safe space to get that trust - so this location is special."
"It's about equity - and I love that the task force is working with the state and the county," Birckhead said. "We're just ramping up and the equity task force stands ready to assist, thank you."
"We have built the infrastructure to administer twice as much [of doses], we just need the vaccine," Hogan said. "April is going to look much different than March. We're ready to do a whole lot more - we just need that supply."
Alsobrooks also reiterated that the vaccine site is exclusively for the residents of Prince George's County.
Hogan also adds the state is in the works to potentially open more mass vaccination sites to make the vaccine more equitable. This week, the mass vaccination site on the eastern shore will open and the mass vaccination site on the western shore is scheduled to open next week, he adds.
According to state data as of Tuesday, more than 20% of state residents had gotten their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and almost 11% had gotten two doses. But in Prince George’s County, those numbers are 13% and 5.7%, the lowest county in the state for both.
Nearly one percent of Prince George’s County residents have gotten the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is one of the best percentages in the state. However since relatively few doses of that vaccine have been delivered statewide, it so far hasn’t done much to help Prince George’s County catch up.
The new facility and the mass vaccination site at Six Flags America less than two miles away from it are expected to help the county catch up, however. The state is now reserving some slots at Six Flags just for county residents.
During the tour, the governor announced he had heard from the White House that after remaining steady for a couple more weeks, starting in late March Maryland should be receiving a dramatically increased supply of vaccines.
Watch the full tour and Q & A session below.
According to Governor Hogan, Maryland providers have provided a total of 1,945,799 shots, averaging a "new record" of 43,123 shots per day.
Hogan also announced on Monday that he has issued an emergency order "prohibiting the garnishment of stimulus payments" which he says have been provided under the American Rescue Plan Act.
The payments "are intended to support working families and struggling Marylanders," Hogan tweeted.