The battle against COVID-19 neared a positive milestone this week as Maryland statistics show that as of today, Thursday, April 22, about half of all Montgomery County residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. The County has continued to vaccinate a large number of residents each day, even though a pause on issuing Johnson & Johnson vaccines reduced the number of vaccines the County expected to have for distribution over the past two weeks.
Today’s State COVID-19 statistics show that more than 508,500 County residents (approximately 48.4 percent of all residents) have received at least one of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 322,900 residents (about 30.7 percent ) are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 is still circulating in the community. The most common strain in circulation is the variant, B-X-X, otherwise known as the British variant. See the Montgomery County COVID-19 Data Dashboard for key indicators and more details.
All Marylanders 16 and older are now eligible to receive a vaccine, no matter which provider is giving the vaccination. Residents can preregister at govaxmoco.com for one of the County-operated COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Residents can assist other residents who do not have computer access by preregistering for them either online or by calling the preregistration helpline at 240-777-2982 for assistance.
To register at a State mass vaccination site, go to covidvax.maryland.gov. Options include the site on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College and the newly established mass vaccination site located at the Greenbelt Metro Station in Prince George’s County.
Preregistration does not guarantee an appointment at any site. The supply of vaccines remains less than the number of people who want to get them.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate possible links between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and rare episodes of blood clots in six women recipients, County health officials will continue to pause the use of the single-dose vaccine. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) may make an updated recommendation about the J & J vaccine by the end of the week.
People who have received a first dose at a County-operated clinic, but have not received an email three days before their second dose due date should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the COVID-19 call center at 240-777-1755 for assistance in scheduling a second dose appointment. The County always maintains a supply of second dose vaccine for residents who received their first dose from the County.
Many residents who have been fully vaccinated have questions about what this means for future safety and behavior. Here is some guidance:
- Keep wearing a mask. earing a mask and physical distancing are still important in helping slow the spread of COVID-19 until we reach herd immunity.
- Herd immunity is needed. However, the County and the nation are not there yet. Estimates range that the stage will not be reached until possibly this summer or not until early 2022.
- Getting COVID-19 is still possible. Vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and death, but there is a chance a fully vaccinated person could still get infected with COVID-19.
- Fully vaccinated people may eventually need a booster. Researchers do not know yet how long vaccine immunity will last. The medical community is doing research on whether booster shots may be required in the future.
- A vaccinated person can still infect someone. There is a chance that a vaccinated person could get infected with the virus and spread it to someone who is not vaccinated.
- Fully vaccinated people of any age can visit inside a home or private setting without a mask. They also can visit with a household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk of severe illness inside a home or private setting without a mask.
- Domestic travel without a pre- or post-travel test is acceptable and travel domestically without quarantining after travel also can be done. Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without a pre-travel test, depending on destination. Travel internationally also can be done without quarantining after travel.
- Attending group fitness classes with other fully vaccinated participants and instructors while wearing a mask is okay. Check your gym for specific policies.
- Sitting indoors at restaurants operating at reduced capacity while wearing a mask when not eating or drinking is considered safe.
Residents who received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine received a vaccination record card. The cards are issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and serve as a personal immunization record. The card lists the date when the first dose of the vaccine was received what vaccine was administered received. For those who have received a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), the date of the first vaccination provides a general idea of when the second dose is due (three weeks later if you received Pfizer and four weeks later if you received Moderna).
Bring the card to your second appointment so it can be updated. If you forget to bring your card, do not panic. If you have some form of ID, staff at the site can pull up your name in their records and get you vaccinated.
If you have lost your vaccination card, visit Maryland MyIR for a copy of your immunization record. If you were vaccinated at a County-operated site, you can also request a new card by emailing email@example.com and providing your name, date of birth and home address.
The vaccination card is not a legal document and is not the same as a “vaccine passport” that may or may not be required in the future. However, if you are traveling or returning to work or school, you should consider bringing the vaccination record card, or at least a copy of it, in case you are asked for proof of vaccination.
The CDC recommends people who have already had COVID-19 still get vaccinated. The vaccine could create a bigger immune response, which better prepares the body to fight off the coronavirus in the future. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. If you have already recovered from COID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus again.