Elrich: No ‘hard timeline’ for county council vote on vaccine passports

Elrich: No ‘hard timeline’ for county council vote on vaccine passports

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (top left-hand corner) speaks at a virtual news conference on Wednesday afternoon (Screenshot)

@BryanRenbaum

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said Wednesday that there are no immediate plans for the county council to move forward with his proposal to implement a COVID-19 vaccine passport program.

“I do not have a hard timeline. This is in draft. We are still dealing with some other related issues, such as the state,” Elrich said in a response to a question from MarylandReporter.com at a virtual news conference. “We are trying to make sure that if we put it in front of them they are actually able to implement it. I do not want to put forward a policy and then discover that we are not going to be able to get the information that we need.”

Dr. Earl Stoddard, who leads the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, expanded upon Elrich’s answer.

“The state of Maryland controls much of the data through their ImmuNet system for all vaccine records in the state of Maryland. While we know at the county level through the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services who has been vaccinated, we do not have rights to the information that the state has. And so we have asked the Maryland Department of Health whether a system like a passport could access the database to verify someone’s vaccination status. Thus far they have not been willing to support efforts like that, which have been engaged both in Montgomery County and elsewhere in the state of Maryland.”

Stoddard added: “There are a number of counties that are interested in setting up platforms like that, even if they are not necessarily interested in requiring vaccine passports. They are looking to have systems that support businesses who want to implement their own passports so you can verify someone’s vaccination status.”

Stoddard said that language for the proposal is in the draft phase, but that it would not be prudent to move forward with a vote until more information is ascertained from the state about how the program might be able to work.

Earlier in the news conference, Elrich was asked by another media outlet whether the county’s vaccination metrics, which according to the CDC are the best in the state with more than 74% of eligible  residents fully vaccinated-might negate the need for the implementation of a vaccine passport program.

The county executive emphasized that pass-through traffic in the county makes the program necessary.

“We have very fluid borders. A lot of our county residents work outside Montgomery County. A lot of people from outside Montgomery County work in Montgomery County. They come to the shops, the restaurants, the movie theaters. We know that this variant is more infectious. We know that we are having more breakthrough cases out of this variant than we did in other cases. I am trying my best to minimize the possibility of potential outbreaks in the county.”

Dr. James Bridgers Jr., who is the county’s deputy health officer, said progress is being made on the administration of booster shots for immunocompromised residents.

“We are vaccinating those individuals at home in that cohort.”

However, Bridgers cautioned that immunocompromised persons should consult their primary care providers before electing to get a booster shot.

About The Author

Bryan Renbaum

Bryan@MarylandReporter.com

Reporter Bryan Renbaum served as the Capitol Hill Correspondent for Talk Media News for the past three-and-a-half years, filing print, radio and video reports on the Senate and the House of Representatives. He covered congressional reaction to the inauguration of President Donald Trump as well as the confirmation hearings of attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He also filed breaking news reports on the 2017 shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others. Previously Bryan broke multiple stories with the Baltimore Post-Examiner including sexual assault scandals at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a texting scandal on the women’s lacrosse team at that school for which he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He also covered the Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 legislative session as an intern for Maryland Reporter. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from McDaniel College. If you have additional questions or comments contact Bryan at: bryan@marylandreporter.com

2 Comments

  1. John O'Malley

    So, we will have to show our papers to the Gestapo every time we go to a restaurant or grocery store? They will try to make this evolve into a digital type of Chinese Social Credit System.

    Reply
  2. Kate Gordon

    Sadly, this will be allowed since non of our ‘representatives’ have the back bone to stand up for ‘us’. No one I’ve talked to want a passport. We’re not sure if they don’t see the future consequences of these restrictions or simply don’t care.
    “We are good at our task because the alternative is too horrific to contemplate”. We’re hoping our leaders know to think a head.

    Reply

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