BEL AIR, Md. — For three months, patients have been filling the Patterson Mill High School gymnasium instead of students---all seeking vaccinations, but like many places, there’s not enough.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman says it has left many residents no choice, but to search for it elsewhere in the state.
“Information came out last week that Weeks 1 through 11, Harford County ranked 23rd out of 24 based on the number of vaccines per populations, so quite frankly, I was kind of shocked by that,” said Glassman.
This in the 8th largest county in the state where the health department’s weekly allotment of 1700 doses doesn’t have much impact on a population of a quarter of a million people, and many are seeking it elsewhere.
“Harford County residents are going all over the state,” said Harford County Health Officer Dr. David Bishai. “There have been 200 places where our residents have gone for vaccines. They are out at retail pharmacies and hospitals and mass vaccine sites, which is part of the problem. Traveling all around is not easy for some of the people on a fixed income.”
Thus far, only 17 percent have received an initial dose of vaccine, and in one of the most diverse communities is Edgewood that rate drops to just 8 percent.
Appeals to the state to designate Ripken Stadium as a mass vaccination site to bring in more vaccine and to reach people along the I-95 corridor have garnered no response.
“We’re all dealing with folks that cannot get appointments, have to go to multiple sites. Many of us feel there should be one registration site, which you can go to get your vaccine,” said Glassman. “So once we got this data, I think it was pretty glaring that, in fact, larger counties were getting a smaller portion of the vaccine.”
School is set to reopen at Patterson Mill High School on Monday, March 15th, and the health department’s clinic will move to the Center for Educational Opportunities on Paradise Road in Aberdeen.