BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics will open in Maryland Friday at the Baltimore City Convention Center and Six Flags in Prince George’s County, and the state is encouraging everyone eligible to try to get the vaccine.
“If you can get the vaccine, get the vaccine. That’s number one. Get yourself on whatever list you can get,” said Dr. Lisa Kirkland, who works in emergency medicine at Baltimore’s LifeBridge Sinai Hospital.
Kirkland said she is seeing patients sick with COVID-19, but noted they are seeing fewer cases of the flu.
The South African variant of the coronavirus has now been detected in Maryland. There is one case in the Baltimore area.
The patient is isolating at home and has no history of international travel. The other two cases in the United States are in South Carolina.
The B.1.351 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus first detected in South Africa has been identified in Maryland. We continue to closely track new variants, and ask Marylanders to limit transmission by wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, and washing your hands.https://t.co/gfYan8HHvt
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) January 30, 2021
The U.K. variant was detected in Maryland last month. Both strains are more contagious but not necessarily more deadly, although the current vaccines may not be as effective against them.
The state has now opened vaccination eligibility to those hospitalized and suffering from cancer, COPD, diabetes and sickle cell, among other serious illnesses.
Beginning today, individuals currently hospitalized AND diagnosed with the following are eligible to receive a vaccine in Phase 1C:
– End stage renal disease requiring hemodialysis
– Solid organ transplant
– Sickle cell disease
– Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
— Maryland Department of Health (@MDHealthDept) February 1, 2021
Also Monday, Maryland recorded the state’s third death of a child under age ten. Further details weren’t immediately available.
The state is still dealing with a slow vaccine rollout.
Howard County’s health officer said in a letter the county is getting 66% fewer doses this week compared to last week.
“We know the amount of vaccine is insufficient for the 200,000 residents who have preregistered with us,” wrote Dr. Maura Rossman. “We continue to advocate for additional doses and are continuously revising plans based upon the expansion of priority groups by the governor and changes to our allotment. While vaccine remains limited, community members may want to reach out to the retail pharmacies, hospitals and Kaiser to assess their availability.”
The snowy weather caused some testing and vaccination sites to temporarily close.
“It’s not just a challenge for us here in the city but also across the state and across the Northeast,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott.
Scott added the biggest problem is not the weather but the lack of enough vaccine supply to meet demand.
Maryland administered 7,411 new first doses and 1,329 new second doses, the Maryland Department of Health reported Monday. Less than ten percent of people in Baltimore City have received their first dose.