Some county EMS suppliers hesitant to take coronavirus vaccine

Pictured are Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses of the first 100 released to Montgomery County officials on December 23.

Photo from Montgomery County

While Montgomery County is undergoing an initial phase of COVID-19 vaccination, some EMS providers have been reluctant to receive one – immediately or at all.

Dr. Earl Stoddard, executive director of the county’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Bureau, said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon that about 900 of the county’s 6,000 first responders were vaccinated last week.

“We believe that 40% or more will likely have concerns. But even in the survey our fire and rescue team conducted for their employees, there are a number of options, ”he said. “There are some people who say, ‘I don’t want to get it. ‘There are some people who say, “I would love to see others get it before I get it.” There is hesitation, but it is not necessarily so – not all hesitation is outright denial. “

He said he expected the county to learn more next week about how many first responders might refuse to receive a vaccine dose based on how many sign up for vaccinations in the coming days.

Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer, told reporters during the briefing that it was important for officials to “take some space” to understand the reasons why some people currently eligible for the vaccine are reluctant to use it receive.

“It could be something personal. It could be something that is rightly rooted in a historical perspective, ”said Gayles. “I think once we can better understand why we can give specific guidance.

“It’s routine. We understand that things were moving fast compared to previous vaccines. This does not affect the safety of the vaccine or the effectiveness of the vaccine. “

Different people will have different reasons why they might not want a vaccine, Stoddard said, but once they are eligible they can enroll in later stages.

According to Gayles, county staff and community partners are working together to address potential residents’ vaccination problems, so that their questions are answered when people come into question and to defuse fear and concern.

Gayles received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine a few weeks ago. He said Wednesday that he had not experienced any side effects. The county took public photos and video of his experience.

Hospitals are currently vaccinating their employees. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies have partnered with the federal government to deliver vaccines to nursing homes.

Meanwhile, district officials are vaccinating first responders, medical providers, vaccines, test workers, and other health workers who are not covered by a hospital or health system.

The county government received an initial 100-dose Moderna vaccine shipment on December 23 and 4,200 doses on December 29. By Tuesday, she had given 94% – or more than 4,000 – of those doses.

Officials received an additional 8,600 doses Tuesday evening, which helped vaccinate an estimated 5,500 more people by Friday, Gayles said.

According to Gayles, the state reports how many cans are sent to the county on the weekend before each delivery.

On Tuesday afternoon, district officials emailed the district council and its staff a list of vaccine priority levels for each phase 1 subgroup. The county later posted the list on its website late Wednesday morning.

In the list sent to the council, officials wrote that the health department “is ready to respond to anaphylaxis / severe allergic reactions after COVID-19 vaccination and will pre-screen people to see if there are any contraindications or precautions”.

Gayles said Wednesday that only two of the six hospitals in the county are at full capacity in their intensive care units.

“We cannot stop doing what we are doing to keep people safe,” he said. “We need people who will continue to adhere to the guidelines we have put forward so hopefully we will be able to go through all the different priority groups for effective coverage and protection so that hopefully sometime in 2021 we will be able to return to some semblance of normalcy. “

Residents can sign up through the county’s website for updates on vaccination warnings.

Here’s who is eligible at each stage and priority level. Unless otherwise noted, the Phase 1 list includes only those who do not work from home and cannot control social distancing in the industries listed.

Phase 1A

Tier 1:
● hospital staff
● Employees and residents of long-term care facilities
● Group houses of the Developmental Disability Administration
● Assisted living facilities
● Rest and rehabilitation programs

Rank 2:
● Vaccines (local health department, school nurse, etc.)
● Test sites – testers and registration staff on site
● Public Health – COVID-19 Response
● Emergency care providers
● Basic provider

Tier 3:
● Dental offices
● pharmacists
● Other health care professionals (outpatients, opticians, physical therapists, podiatrists, community health workers, home nurses, etc.)
● Prison staff
● Homeless shelters workers
● Law enforcement (patrol / public)
● Fire rescue
● 911 dispatcher
● Behavioral health (non-telemedicine) – living / recovery, etc.
● School nurses (non-vaccine / non-testers)
● Laboratory assistants
● Undertakers and undertakers
● Surgical Centers
● Other providers licensed by the Maryland Department of Health

Phase 1B

Tier 1:
● Adults aged 75 and over

Rank 2:
● Employees in local public transport (transport for seniors and people with disabilities)
● Education sector (teachers and support staff)
● Child carers
● Food and farm workers
● Postal workers
● Grocery store workers
● People affected by homelessness
● People in detention centers

Tier 3:
● Manufacturing workers

Phase 1C

Tier 1:
● Adults aged 65 to 74 years

Tier 2 – People aged 16 to 64 with high risk medical conditions, including:
● cancer
● Chronic kidney disease
● Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
● heart disease
● Immunocompromised condition
● Obesity / severe obesity
● pregnancy
● sickle cell disease
● Smoking
● Type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes
● Asthma (moderate to severe)
● Cerebrovascular disease
● Cystic fibrosis
● high blood pressure or high blood pressure
● Immunocompromised diseases (caused by blood or bone marrow transplantation, immunodeficiency, HIV, prolonged use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs)
● Dementia, ALS, other neurological problems
● liver disease
● lung disease
● Thalassemia

Tier 3 – Basic Workers who have not yet entered Stage 1A or 1B, including:
● Transport and logistics
● Water and sewage
● Catering service
● Shelter and accommodation (construction, etc.)
● Finance (banks, etc.)
● IT and communication
● Energy
● Law (prosecutor, defense attorney, justice, etc.)
● Media
● Public safety (engineers, etc.)
● Public Health Workers – Non-COVID-19 Response
● Social and Human Services (Aging, DSS, Human Services) – On-site / at-home services
● Government continuity (elected officials)

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at [email protected].

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