If you were planning to get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of Maryland’s “mass vaccination” sites, you might want to get moving.
Over the next few weeks, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will be shutting down its high-volume sites.
With 70% of the state’s adult population at least partially vaccinated by the end of the Memorial Day weekend, the department is shifting personnel and resources toward community clinics, mobile units, summertime events where crowds gather, and other ways of finding unvaccinated people.
“I said our goal was to put ourselves out of business at these mass vaccination sites, and as one of the most vaccinated states in the country, we are now approaching that point,” said Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) in a statement.
According to the Bloomberg vaccination tracker, Maryland’s vaccination rate — 53.1% of the population — is the tenth highest in the nation.
The Hagerstown Premium Outlet site will be the first to close. Residents of Western Maryland will be able to get vaccinated at Meritus Hospital in Hagerstown instead, beginning Saturday.
State-run vaccination programs at Ripken IronBirds Stadium in Aberdeen and the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury will end on June 19, and will end at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf on June 24.
The state will cease vaccinations at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on July 2 and at Navy-Marines Corp Stadium in Annapolis and The Mall in Columbia on July 3.
The last day to get a shot at Six Flags America in Largo — one of the state’s first “mass vax” sites — will be July 17.
Although the state health department is transitioning away from high-volume sites, local governments will have the option of keeping them running.
On Thursday, the MDH announced a “GoVAX Summer Tour,” to bring vaccination opportunities to community events through the use of mobile clinics.
The first event, in partnership with the Charles County Health Department, will take place this weekend at the Southern Maryland Food Truck Festival in La Plata.
The festival will be held at the Charles County Fairgrounds.
“Through the GoVAX Summer Tour, we are taking vaccines to where Marylanders are gathering to have fun with family and friends this season,” said Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader in a statement.
“COVID-19 vaccines are more available now than they ever have been, and the state is doing everything it can to make sure that the vaccines are easy to access.”
Officials are able to phase out the state’s high-volume sites because Maryland now has 723 pharmacy locations that offer vaccinations, according to the agency.
Parents who want to get vaccines for their children aged 12-17 can find a list of Pfizer providers at covidvax.maryland.gov.
Hogan thanked the nurses, volunteers and National Guard personnel who have staffed the state’s mass-vaccination sites since January.
“These sites were an incredible undertaking, and I want to especially thank everyone who was involved in building them,” he said.