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Reluctance among first responders, others in Phase 1A slows Prince George's vaccinations

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 1/14/2021 Brad Bell/ABC7

In an indoor tent city in Landover, the Prince George’s County health department is racing to vaccinate first responders and others who qualify for phase 1A. It opened Saturday. 

They gave 600 shots over the weekend and are doing 500 vaccinations Wednesday. 

“It was perfect because I’m scared of needles, didn’t feel nothing,” said Verna Ward. She works with a volunteer fire department and registered for a vaccination as soon as she could. “Because I want to be safe out here and I’m a teacher too,” she explained.

Not everyone is so eager. According to county health department officials reluctance to take the vaccine is one factor in what has been a slow start to the vaccination process. 

“On average it's about 30% of public safety that has chosen to go through this first round. But they have the option to come back through,” says county assistant health Director Diane Young. She is urging everybody else to sign up as “the only way we can get back to normal.”

Logistics and staffing have also been issues which is why today alongside the county health workers a group from the Maryland National Guard is giving shots. 

“We’re going to find a way to do as much as we possibly can,” says Colonel Eric Allely, the Guard’s State Surgeon. 

Ordered by the governor to assist last week the guard is expecting to part of what will grow to be a 24-7 effort as doses become available. 

Allely says it will be a huge job, “It’s gonna require everybody. It’s gonna require the pharmacies. It’s gonna require the hospitals and its gonna require outpatient clinics. It’s gonna require big mass vaccination centers like this one we’re standing in to get that job done.”

With the help, the county is now expecting to complete phase 1A by the end of the month.


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