Bridgett gets vaccinated

St. Mary’s County Administrator Rebecca Bridgett gets her continuity of government COVID-19 vaccine from St. Mary’s Health Officer Meena Brewster.

The state opened up vaccinations to seniors over 75 on Monday, and will allow counties to move forward to allow even more to be vaccinated come next Monday, Jan. 25.

The vaccines for seniors come with the arrival of Phase 1B this past Monday, announced by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) days before. Education staff and child care providers are also eligible under 1B.

Phase 1C, which Hogan said could begin next Monday, will involve adults ages 65 to 74 as well as some essential workers in lab services, agriculture, manufacturing and the postal service, but county health officers differ on how quickly they can move forward to that phase.

The complete list of occupations included in Phase 1C was not finalized by the state as of Wednesday, according to St. Mary’s Health Officer Meena Brewster.

St. Mary’s County

St. Mary’s residents over 75 can register for the vaccine at www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine, or by calling the county’s Department of Aging and Human Services at 301-475-4200, ext. 1049.

St. Mary’s businesses which fall under groups 1A and 1B can have a single point of contact register employees for vaccinations at www.surveymonkey.com/r/phase-1b-covid.

On Thursday morning, the county health department said it opened registration and a survey for those who will be 1C-eligible starting Monday.

In addition to the health department, the Giant grocery store in California will begin offering vaccinations to those eligible around Jan. 25, according to the state health department.

Those who are eligible can register for those shots at www.giantfood.com/pages/covid-info.

In addition to vaccinating sheriff’s office staff including corrections officers, the health department is vaccinating inmates at the county jail, who are included in the distribution priority phases.

A total of 44 inmates have received their first dose, according to St. Mary’s sheriff’s office spokesperson Jason Babcock, and the opportunity is being marketed to other inmates.

As of Wednesday, St. Mary’s had given first doses to 6,200 residents, or over 5% of the county’s population. Brewster said the county has been injecting 100% of the vaccines it has been supplied with from the state.

Calvert County

In Calvert, all residents over 18 can register online to be vaccinated, although those not in priority groups will be waiting for a response.

Residents over 18 can sign up for the vaccine at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Vaccine.

Those without internet access can call 410-535-0218, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., for assistance.

The Giant grocery store off Town Center Boulevard in Dunkirk will also begin vaccinating eligible populations next week. Registration for those vaccines will open at www.giantfood.com/pages/covid-info.

Calvert Health Officer Dr. Laurence Polsky said although counties will be allowed to move to Phase 1C next on Monday, Jan. 25, it is unlikely most counties will be able to start vaccinating 1C patients due to low doses coming from the federal government to the state.

“Maryland has only received a small percentage of the doses we need to vaccinate everyone who has been prioritized in the Phase 1 category,” Polsky told Southern Maryland News in an email. “Unless production increases significantly, the reality is that it will take months to vaccinate each person in Phases 1 and 2.”

Polsky held out hope that the FDA approval of additional vaccines would speed up the process.

Calvert has given initial doses to 4,562 people, inching up toward 5% of the county’s population. In a press release on Tuesday, Polsky said the county is using 90% of its vaccine supply.

Charles County

The Charles County Health Department as of this week was vaccinating the Phase 1B population as well.

Those who are over 75, or who are in priority groups, can register for the vaccine at www.charlescountyhealth.org.

Eligible vaccine recipients will get an appointment date to get vaccinated at the health department’s clinics at Regency Furniture Stadium, which are held on Wednesdays as well as alternating Fridays or Saturdays.

Charles has only given first doses to 3,314 residents, according to the state health department, slightly above 2% of the county’s population.

In addition to the health department, the Giant grocery store off Plaza Way in Waldorf will be offering vaccines to the eligible population. Those interested can sign up at www.giantfood.com/pages/covid-info.

Twitter: @DanSoMdNews

Twitter: @DanSoMdNews