By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team
The Garrett County Health Department reports that they have made very good progress to date in vaccinating essential medical and public safety professionals. The Health Department will soon be announcing that they are able to move to Phase 1B of the vaccine plan, which will be available for all residents of Garrett County who are 75 or older.
When the announcement is made, it will include specific instructions on how to schedule an appointment. There will be no charge for vaccinations. Proof of age and Garrett County residency will be required.
Currently the vaccine available in Garrett County is the Moderna mRNA formulation. Anyone receiving this vaccine will need to receive a second dose in 28 days to gain full immunity. An appointment for a second dose will be arranged during the initial appointment.
The vaccine has shown promising results during clinical trials with minimal side effects for most people. The trials have demonstrated 94.5% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection after the second dose is administered
“The vaccine is our best chance at ending the pandemic,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “The New Year has brought the incredible opportunity to begin safely creating community-wide immunity to this terrible virus. Being vaccinated protects you, it protects the people you love, and it protects all of the Garrett County community.”
Additional information about COVID-19 vaccine:
· The Health Department is not keeping a list! Appointments can only be scheduled once the County moves to Phase 1B. This will be announced in the media and on the Health Department’s Facebook page and website.
· The vaccines are safe for a diverse set of adults, and they will not give you COVID-19.
· The vaccines are effective at preventing you from getting seriously ill with COVID-19.
· Mild side effects can occur in some people including injection site pain, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches and chills.
· COVID-19 vaccines will not alter the body’s DNA and they will not cause patients to test positive for COVID-19.
Garrett County is following the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the order in which to dispense the vaccines.
During the first round, or Phase 1A, health care workers, first responders, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities are the target population for the vaccine. The Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center have been vaccinating health care workers and first responders, and will continue to vaccinate these groups on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Each long-term care facility is working under their own contract with CVS or Walgreens Pharmacy to vaccinate their staff and residents.
As Phase 1A continues, the Health Department will begin scheduling appointments to begin Phase 1B, which will include people who are at significantly higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Those aged 75 or older are the first group being offered the vaccine at this time. Additional persons in this group will be frontline essential workers who are not health care workers. Appointments for this group will be announced at a later time. Please do not call to schedule an appointment until you are asked to do so by the Health Department.
Phase 1C will include persons aged 65-74; persons aged 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions; and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in earlier phases.
The final round of vaccinations, Phase 2, will include anyone aged 16 or older who was not previously recommended for vaccination.
Garrett County will continue to conduct weekly free COVID-19 testing on Tuesdays (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), at the MEDCO Building. There is no out-of-pocket cost at this site, and no need for appointments and doctors’ orders. Be prepared for a possible wait.
Pre-registration will help speed up the process on the day of testing and is highly recommended. To register visit https://mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2409. Or scan the QR code on garretthealth.org with
your smartphone. After completing the registration, you will receive an email with a Booking ID number to share with staff at the testing. You will be able to log into the patient portal to view your results when they are available.
For more information about testing in Garrett County visit garretthealth.org.
Partners assisting the Garrett County Health Department with testing and vaccinations include Garrett County Government and Emergency Management, Garrett County Public Schools, and volunteers.
Additional COVID-19 resources:
· Visit garretthealth.org for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.
· To schedule an Influenza vaccination, call the Health Department at 301-334-7697.
· If you have COVID-19 like symptoms, and have a doctor’s order, you can schedule a testing appointment at the Health Department by calling 301-334-7697 or you can visit the community testing events listed above without an appointment. Pre-registration is recommended.
· For all other COVID-19 related questions, or to report a COVID-19 compliance issue, call the local COVID-19 Hotline number at 301-334-7698.