Phase 1C of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Maryland begins Monday.
The most recent phase includes residents aged 65 to 74; public health and safety officials not covered by phase 1A; and key workers in laboratory services, food and agriculture manufacturing, manufacturing, the U.S. Postal Service, public transportation, and grocery stores.
As of Friday, 9,127 initial doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine had been administered in Washington County, according to the Washington County Joint Information Center COVID-1
By Thursday morning, 1,608 seconds of doses had been administered, Joint Information Center spokesman Daniel Weaver said in an email.
Washington County Department of Health is partnering with Meritus Health to administer its approximately 1,300 weekly doses of vaccines from the state, Washington County Health Officer Earl Stoner said earlier.
Meritus began vaccinating residents aged 65 and over in early January, before the state plan envisages this age group.
Also Monday, Maryland launched a pilot program for COVID-19 vaccines to be administered at selected pharmacies, including two pharmacies at Martin’s next grocery stores on Dual Highway 1729 in Hagerstown and 18726 N. Pointe Drive north of Hagerstown. .
Maryland began Phase 1A in December, which included vaccinating health workers, various first aid kits and those in nursing homes.
State Phase 1B, which began on January 18, includes licensed, registered and certified health care providers; employees of the front hospital; residents and staff of nursing homes; those who live in assisted living, independent living and other facilities; law enforcement officers and firefighters, emergency medical personnel; educational staff, including K-12 teachers, support staff and kindergarten providers; correctional health staff and staff; first line court staff; continuity of government and adults over the age of 75.
Weaver confirmed that those from previous phases are still eligible to receive the vaccine as new phases are discovered.
Governor Larry Hogan’s distribution plan does not wait to reach all members of a vaccinated priority group before moving on to the next in line, she said.
Weaver said vaccination of those in nursing homes, assisted housing and county-wide living facilities is coordinated by pharmacies through a federal contract. CVS and Walgreens coordinate and plan housing and communal housing facilities.
The Washington County Department of Health has been helping these vulnerable populations earlier by vaccinating some of the local housing facilities this week, she said.
Also this week, the health department has scheduled The Arc of Washington County and the Washington County Human Development Council to provide a number of vaccination clinics to its staff and residents, Weaver said.
As the health department receives more vaccines, it will connect with additional facilities to appoint clinics, according to Weaver.
Daniel Stahl, another spokeswoman for the Joint Information Center, said in an email Thursday that those who administer the vaccines could be doctors, registered nurses, licensed nurses, dentists, emergency technicians and pharmacists.
Vaccine manufacturers also provide online training on the proper handling and distribution of vaccines, she said.
Those interested in volunteering for their professional services to support the current pandemic can enroll in the Maryland Medical Reserve Response Corps at mdresponds.health.maryland.gov/index.php.
The Department of Health and Meritus Health also plan to vaccinate employees in Washington County public schools and private schools.
Meritus spokesman Joel Butler said Friday that Meritus Health is working with WCPS to provide vaccinations to 1,000 employees this week.
The school system will determine which employees will enter, she said.
Butler said the additional vaccines after the initial 1,000 will depend on what the state allocates, as Meritus continues to vaccinate the county’s elderly population.
Meritus has an online form available at MeritusHealth.com so residents of the county aged 65 and over can leave their basic information to be included in the call waiting list when the county receives more vaccines and the hospital can appoint more meetings.
By Friday, more than 10,500 forms had been completed, and about 1,000 people on the list had been asked to schedule appointments, Butler said.