‘Doses are in Freezers’: Montgomery Co. wants more COVID-19 vaccines for children for provincial clinics – Community News
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‘Doses are in Freezers’: Montgomery Co. wants more COVID-19 vaccines for children for provincial clinics

Montgomery County has seen high demand for young children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — and nearly a third of the total number of children vaccinated in the first few weeks of the Maryland rollout were in the state’s most populous county.

Montgomery County has seen high demand for young children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — and nearly a third of the total number of children vaccinated in the first few weeks of the Maryland rollout were in the state’s most populous county.

But provincial officials say as many as half of the doses distributed to suppliers in the province, including pharmacies and doctor’s offices, sit unused in freezers, and they are concerned the province’s health department may need more doses.

“We’re not getting enough doses to do what we need to do,” Earl Stoddard, the assistant chief administrative officer for the county, said during an online media briefing. “There is no doubt about that. … We’re concerned that the pace won’t go that way if we’re able to keep it moving. ”

There are an estimated 100,000 children ages 5 to 11 who need to be vaccinated in the province.

In all, of the total of approximately 39,000 doses delivered to all suppliers in the province to date, approximately 19,800 have been administered, “meaning that approximately 50% of the doses received through all systems in the province have not been distributed.” at this point,” Stoddard said.

Stoddard said the county health department gets all the doses in children’s arms.


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Of the total pediatric doses administered throughout the county, more than 61% were distributed by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

(Courtesy of Montgomery County)

As with the early stages of the adult vaccine rollout, the province appears to be having a bit of a delivery problem.

The federal government supplies special pediatric doses of the vaccine to the state of Maryland, which then distributes them to counties based on population. Vaccines go to different providers, and local health departments, which receive only a fraction of the doses, only monitor their own supply.

Stoddard said the “biggest sticking point” is the supply of pediatric doses provided by the federal government, but he and County Executive Marc Elrich also urged the state to shift vaccine doses from other suppliers who have been slower to deliver them to. the county health department to correct what Stoddard called a “mismatch.”

“I hope the state takes notice of this discrepancy and increases the supply to the provincial government,” Elrich said. “There are a lot of doses in freezers — not ours — in the county just standing there…and if the state were to move those doses from places where they’re not used to us, where we can actually use them, it would would be a huge help in accelerating vaccination coverage in the province.”

Elrich said last weekend the county has had to cancel a number of vaccine clinics it had initially planned due to limited doses, and in the future it will have to save some of its stock to hold it as second doses.

Elrich said pharmacies don’t have strategies for going out and getting residents vaccinated.

“They wait for customers to come through the door,” he said. “Our mission is to get these things out the door as quickly as possible to people who need them… I firmly believe that more of the doses should go to us as we will actively work to release those doses to give.”

Stoddard said: “We get a lot of pressure saying, ‘Why aren’t there more clinics? Why aren’t you doing more in this area? Why aren’t you giving more doses in this community?’ We don’t have enough doses to cover all the communities that have this great need.”

Meanwhile, Montgomery County will reinstate its indoor mask mandate Saturday under a data-driven mask policy tied to the county’s COVID-19 case rate.

‘Premature’ to talk about removing mask mandate

The move comes as neighboring DC, which has slightly higher cases, will remove its indoor mask policy effective Monday, Nov. 22, on the orders of Mayor Muriel Bowser.

“That’s their decision,” Elrich said of the lifting of the DC mask’s mandate. “It’s clearly not the decision I would make.”

He pointed to the current rise in cases of concern about an ever-increasing rise related to the Thanksgiving holiday and ongoing efforts to vaccinate young children.

“I think it’s premature and I would feel a lot better about this if we got our kids vaccinated,” Elrich said. “Once we vaccinate 80-85% of our kids, I think we’ll be in a much better place. But I don’t think we’re where we should stop.”

Responding to critics who say the province should look at other data — such as hospital capacity and deaths, both of which have remained low — rather than just the number of cases,

Stoddard said county officials are willing to evaluate how they are managing the pandemic and based on what data, but don’t think it’s time yet as officials want more young children vaccinated first.

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