Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Wednesday touted the county’s progress on vaccinating young children against the novel coronavirus.
“Our efforts to vaccinate the 5 to 11 year olds is off to a good start. Since last Thursday afternoon, less than a week ago, the county Health and Human Services department has vaccinated over 9,500 children,” Elrich said at a virtual news conference.
“This is around nine percent of our estimated population of children between 5 and 11. This does not count doses from the private sector. We started vaccinating that age group days before many of our neighboring jurisdictions. And, according to the state’s latest numbers, Montgomery County represents over 50% of all 5 to 11 vaccinations given throughout the state,” Elrich added.
The county executive emphasized that progress on pediatric vaccinations means that fewer students will have to be quarantined.
“This obviously is going to have amazing benefits for the schools since we will be further able to reduce the quarantining of a number of kids who have been exposed. I am excited about where this is heading and look forward to the coming weeks.”
Sean O’Donnell, the county’s public health emergency manager, joined Elrich in touting the county’s progress on pediatric vaccinations.
“We have had a lot of success moving the vaccine out that is coming to the county. In addition to the sites that we have done at community vaccination locations, we have also done over the weekend 12 clinics at our Montgomery County public school system.”
O’Donnell elaborated on that point.
“We have had great partnerships with our school partners and the other volunteers who have come out to help us keep the lines orderly and ensure that we have multiple fluent languages available to communicate with the population that is coming out in our county. We have also worked with our safety net clinical providers in the county to ensure that they have vaccines to assist us in getting to harder to reach populations.”
O’Donnell stressed that he hopes the state will provide with the county with an update on the vaccine supply moving forward by the end of the week.
“If that does not happen, we will continue to update our scheduling system so that we can have vaccines available to our community.”
Earl Stoddard, the county’s emergency management officer, said the county has administered almost all of the 13,000-plus doses it received in its first installment from the state.
“The county received approximately one-third of the total doses coming to Montgomery County as a whole last week. And while we are very close to having distributed our 13,200 doses through our clinics -there are many other clinics, pharmacies, and other opportunities that we are encourage our residents to look at.”
Stoddard said recent conversations with state officials regarding guidance for schools has proved fruitful.
“We are having ongoing conversations with the Maryland Department of Health regarding the quarantining and other guidance for schools. We had a very productive meeting this morning…We have the desire to be consistent with their guidance where reasonable-but also to express our view of what we can safely do in Montgomery County.”