Baltimore starts to give COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers, first responders
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Baltimore City officials on Tuesday announced the city’s coronavirus vaccine campaign with a note of caution about the very limited supply of doses.
Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said the city received its first batch of 100 doses the week of Dec. 20 and vaccinated the public health staff who are administering the vaccine.
Last week, the city received a second batch of 2,600 doses and those will be used starting Tuesday to vaccinate health care workers and first responders at the Under Armour Port Covington campus in south Baltimore.
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“Today, the Baltimore City Health Department is beginning its pod vaccination structure as a part of its citywide vaccination strategy,” Dzirasa said. “We are working to ensure a smooth and efficient rollout of vaccine here in Baltimore City.”
The city is responsible for vaccinating its residents. The city’s order of vaccination priorities is posted here.
“The city is responsible for immunizing its residents. Again, we are working through the phases, through the tiers, but we do have responsibility for the population, working with other health partners,” Dzirasa said.
Baltimore COVID-19 vaccine priority groups
In addition to health workers and first responders, the city’s priority 1A group includes health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff and acute-living facility residents and staff.
Priority 1B includes people who are 75 or older and front-line essential workers.
Priority 1C includes adults people who are 65 to 74 years old, essential workers and people with high-risk medical conditions. The city hopes to get 1C groups vaccinated by spring with broader vaccinations after that, but the health commissioner warned about supply.
“I want to stress though we are seeing vaccine, the supply is still limited,” Dzirasa said. “I think, as it becomes available, we will see more allocation, but again, the supply is limited.”
Find more information on Baltimore City’s COVID-19 vaccine priority groups and tiers here.
Mayor to review metrics before making decision on restrictions this week
The vaccine arrives as the city has seen a slowing of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he will review the latest data and make decision Friday about whether to keep in place the city’s guidelines, including the ban on in-person dining. He said his decision will be based on case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths.
“I am cautiously optimistic about our trends based on what we’ve seen from the cases; however, what we have consistently seen is spikes in cases following holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. We are anticipating a similar spike following New Year’s,” Scott said. “On Friday, we will have an announcement based on data, the data we just laid out on how we will make that decision.”
The mayor said any change to the current guidelines will be given with a full week’s notice to make any adjustments necessary.
The health commissioner said 649 city residents have died from the coronavirus to date, which averages to about three deaths per day. The city has recorded more than 32,689 cases to date.
“Our hospitalization rates are trending in the right direction but remain high with ICU at 87% capacity and our acute care is following closely behind at 85% capacity, slightly higher than those numbers were a week ago,” Dzirasa said.