Thursday April 1, 2021
William Carter, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
Any Baltimore City resident aged 16 and over can now pre-register for COVID-19 vaccines on an optimized online platform, city officials said Thursday.
The city swapped the state-supported PrepMod platform for one developed in cooperation with Microsoft.
"There are no longer separate forms for separate population groups. We are now using one form to pre-register all residents of the city," said Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa at a press conference. "If you have already registered with us, you do not have to use the new portal. You are already on our list."
– Maryland Online Vaccination Center
– Vaccination data dashboard
– Frequently Asked Questions about the Maryland Immunization Schedule
Dzirasa said they plan to create a way for residents without internet access to pre-register. Pre-registering is not the same as making an appointment. There is also no rush to register. City officials reach out to residents based on the city's priorities, including people with developmental disabilities or underlying health conditions that make them susceptible to serious illness.
As of Thursday, 14% of city residents will be fully vaccinated, including 20% of residents aged 60 and over. Although the number of cases is rising, Dzirasa said, a closer look at the data shows that since the beginning of March, the weekly COVID-19 incidence rate in residents aged 70 and over was the lowest among all age groups for the first time.
"This suggests that vaccines are working," she said.
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At the same time, she and Mayor Brandon Scott urged residents to continue taking preventive measures as Easter weekend approaches, even if they were vaccinated. Early research shows the UK variant of COVID-19 carries a higher risk of serious illness and death.
"You are not invincible. You could end up on a ventilator just like your grandmother and grandfather," said Scott. "We know the weather is getting better, but it is not the time to be reckless, it is not the time to be stupid, to be completely open in insecure ways."
Scott said he doesn't think recent news of a mishap at the Emergent BioSolutions Baltimore facility would dampen buzz for COVID-19 vaccines in general, or Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine in particular.
"I think it's unfortunate. We know that every time you get involved in something there will be human error," said Scott. "As someone who has actually received the J&J vaccine and knows it's safe, I'm just going to let people know it's safe."
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