March 26, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

I am heartsick this week after two mass shootings reminded us that a post-pandemic world still has unbearable tragedy, hatred, and political challenges to face. While my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, my political energy is with those who are working to keep assault weapons off our streets, and those who are fighting back against hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. 

With all we have been through in the last year, we deserve to build a better world on the other side. We deserve a world free from random violence, terrorism, and hatred. Everything we do together should move us in that direction.

Over the last few weeks, my colleagues Delegate Korman and Delegate Love have been doing amazing work in the House to help us build a better world. I encourage you to read their newsletters to learn about their important work on transportation, the environment, and more. Click here for Delegate Korman’s and here for Delegate Love’s.

This week was the deadline for legislation to “crossover” into the other chamber. I am pleased that eight bills I introduced have passed the House. Six have already passed the Senate and two are being heard in the Senate next week:

  • HB 1040 will help us address a concerning side effect of the pandemic: the decrease in routine childhood immunization rates. It will also help us create the public health infrastructure for childhood COVID immunizations.  

  • Working with the Maryland Health Care Commission, I passed a bill in the House this week (HB 1375) that ensures privacy for medical information by creating a “one-stop” opt-out for information sharing with the eleven different Health Information Exchanges operating in Maryland. One thing we have learned from the vaccine rollout is that Maryland consumers need a centralized portal instead of multiple competing systems with different policies and practices. 

As of this week, more than 2 million doses have been administered in Maryland! 854,497 Marylanders are now fully vaccinated. We are still in the middle of the pack at 22nd of 50 states in terms of percentage of the population with at least one vaccine (27%). 

The pace of vaccine administration is accelerating rapidly. While it took more than 2 months (67 days) to administer the first 1 million doses, we have used the second million doses in only 27 days. Right now Maryland has the capacity to administer 500,000 first and second doses each week. With the opening of more new mass vaccination sites, and the expansion to primary care practices across the state we will soon be able to administer 700,000 first and second doses a week.

Another good metric to track is the number of first doses the state receives from the federal government. Since most vaccinators are now effectively distributing the vast majority of our allocated vaccines each week, totaling the number of first doses received of Moderna and Pfizer, combined with total doses of one-shot J&J, gives us a rough estimate of the number of new people in Maryland we will be able to vaccinate in the coming week. Next week, the federal government will send 194,520 new first doses or one-shot doses to Maryland. That represents nearly 200,000 more Marylanders getting access to the vaccine next week.
Montgomery County's allocation has also increased significantly. The state has committed to increasing the allocation to the Montgomery County Health Department from 8,000 to 10,730 new first doses next week, and for the following four weeks. In Montgomery County, 154,779 people have been fully vaccinated representing 14.7% of the total MoCo population. Read on to find out more about what this looks like in different parts of the County. 

County and State Tiers Aligned 
Earlier this week, the Governor ordered all localities to align their vaccine eligibility phases with the state. This will end some of the confusion caused by the different eligibility categories, but it will not necessarily speed up vaccine appointments with the County. Montgomery County officials will continue to issue appointments based on their equity plan. The complete state timeline for eligibility is here. We are now in 2A with 2B appointments opening on Tuesday, March 30.

Pre-Existing Conditions and 60+
Pre-registration is now open for those 60+ and anyone 16-60 with a qualifying medical condition. Visit or call 1-855- MD- GOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to pre-register with the state. Click here for a list of qualifying conditions. Please note, the Governor has made clear that any individual with a disability is also included in this group.

Click here for my resource list of all area pharmacies, hospitals, county and state clinic options. 

As a reminder, Vaccine Hunters, WJ High School Democrats, and GW Hillel are all volunteering to help eligible people navigate the appointment finding process. 

Primary Care Offices
Last week 37 primary care providers around the state received 100 doses each to administer to their patients. The first providers were selected to further the state’s equity goals and serve minority patients or those that are geographically isolated from the state mass vaccination sites. The initial pilot has been very successful and state officials will grow this program tenfold to 35,000-50,000 doses a week within the next few weeks. Soon, your primary care provider should have vaccines if they have registered as a vaccinator with Immunet. If you have a pre-existing condition you may want to call your primary care provider to see if they are taking appointments for vaccinations in the near future. While they may not have been notified yet, they should receive notification of vaccine shipments within the next few weeks. 

New State Mass Vaccination Sites
On Tuesday, the Governor announced the addition of six new mass vaccination sites around the state, including the long-awaited confirmation that the site readied by Montgomery County officials in Germantown would make the list. The County will launch the site on Wednesday, March 31, and provide 1500 doses a day. The state will take over providing doses to the Germantown site directly on April 8, and capacity will increase to 3,000 a day. For now, make sure you are pre-registered on both the county and state lists because appointments will likely come from both lists.  

Additional state sites will be opening in April at the Timonium Fairgrounds (this is currently a Baltimore County site but will soon be open to any Maryland resident) and in Frederick, Anne Arundel, Howard, and Harford Counties.  

Friendship Heights Clinic Details
Last week I mentioned an upcoming Friendship Heights Village vaccine clinic. It will take place Tuesday, April 6 from 10-4. The clinic is only for Friendship Heights Village residents ages 60 and up. Appointments are required and may be made through SignUp Genius on the Village website. Online registration began yesterday at this link. 

If you have a significant number of seniors in your neighborhood and want to replicate this event, you can use this guidebook for advice on how to make it happen.   

Vaccination Rates By Zip Code
This week the state released vaccination rates by zip code (as of March 18). When comparing the percentage of population fully vaccinated, District 16 is noticeably above the state average of 14%. This makes sense because our population is older, whiter, and more affluent than the state average. We know that eligibility (age bracket or essential worker status), as well as race and affluence, can influence vaccine access.

20814 (Bethesda) - 18.35%
20815 (Chevy Chase) - 18.3%
20816 (Bethesda) - 16.88%
20817 (Bethesda) - 20.57%
20852 (North Bethesda/Rockville) - 16.5%
20854 – (Potomac) - 23.5%

The state data shows high and low outliers. For example, only 3.95% of residents of 20745 and 4,28% of 20746 (Oxon Hill and Suitland in Prince George’s County) have been fully vaccinated. In Baltimore, Southwest Baltimore’s 21223 zip code is only 5.71% vaccinated, and Brooklyn Park is 6.5% vaccinated, whereas tony Fells Point (21231) is 24.74% vaccinated. Affluent Pikesville is 29.71% vaccinated. A high-end zip in Howard County (Ellicott City and surrounding areas) is 27.7% vaccinated, whereas the Aberdeen area in Harford County is only 8.8% vaccinated.

When looking just within Montgomery County the variation is more subtle, in part because our pockets of severe poverty are less extreme, and in part, because the County government has been committed to outreach and access for vulnerable groups. However, vaccination rates still correspond roughly with property values. While Potomac’s zip code is vaccinated at 23.5%, nearby Montgomery Village (20886) is vaccinated at 11.78%, or about half. North Potomac (20878), located in-between those two areas is vaccinated at 17.1%. Chevy Chase is vaccinated at 18.3% and Wheaton (20902) is vaccinated at 12.27%

The great news is that most of Montgomery County’s zip codes are fully vaccinated at rates in the mid to high teens and increasing. 

I was thrilled to see school buses on the road again these past few weeks. All MCPS personnel have been offered a chance to get a vaccine and the CDC has issued revised guidance on physical distancing necessary in schools. Based on these factors and the successful return to school so far, MCPS voted this week to speed up the planned return to school by one week. 

All MCPS students who chose to return in-person will be back in school by April 19 (including both of my kids, thank goodness!). The General Assembly recently passed legislation to respond to educational needs as a result of the pandemic. Blueprint 2.0 provides increased support to address learning loss, expands behavioral and mental health resources, and additional access to broadband and devices.  

I hope as spring blossoms emerge, kids return to school, and grandkids get those long-awaited post-vaccine hugs from their grandparents, we all stop to appreciate all the personal sacrifice and hard work that brought about this springtime of renewed hope. Let’s continue to think about what we can do to build a better, more just, and more peaceful world for everyone in our community in the months ahead. 

PS. Donate blood and save lives! Every two seconds, a patient needs blood. The pandemic has drastically reduced our nation’s blood supply. Healthy, eligible donors can find their local blood center via to make an appointment. One blood donation can save up to 3 lives!
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