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Maryland launches outreach to speed up rollout of new COVID boosters

September 15th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

After a relatively slow start to the rollout of the new COVID-19 booster, the Maryland Department of Health began a outreach program this week, aimed at increasing the booster vaccination rates in the state.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the state’s already established "COVIDReady" campaign will focus on encouraging residents to get the updated COVID booster and flu shot at the same time to maximize protection against the upcoming flu season and the omicron variant.

“The new bivalent booster shot is another important tool in our toolbox to help Marylanders stay COVIDReady,” Hogan said in a press release.

So far, the response to the booster has been uneven.

For example, only 11 people received the vaccine at a pop-up booster event Sunday hosted by the state health department at the Salvadoran Independence Festival at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg.

In Howard County, the health department’s first booster clinic Monday was “completely full,” said Lisa DeHernandez, director of communications and public information. The department so far has given out 300 vaccinations, she said.

“We are seeing a very positive response from the Howard County community,” DeHernandez said. “The interest is there and people continue to protect themselves and their families from serious illness.”

In Anne Arundel County, 242 boosters have been administered since shots began on Sept. 12, said Megan Pringle, communications director of the Anne Arundel County Health Department.

“The demand is pretty low as of right now,” Pringle said. “We have doses for about 814 people, and obviously it would be great if we could get more people signed up, but I just don’t think it’s at the forefront of people’s minds right now.”

Anticipating high demand for the new boosters, the Allegany County Health Department will hold a special clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Friday at the health department. Shots were by appointment only, and few remained Thursday afternoon, according to the website The health department also offers primary and booster COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesdays at the health department, also by appointment.

To make an appointment for COVID-19 vaccines in Allegany County, visit the website

The Garrett County Health Department is also offer the new boosters at a Friday clinic, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the health department in Grantsville. Appointments are preferred and priority will be given to people 50 or older. Schedule an appointment at

The state’s GoVax Call Center is notifying Marylanders who are booster eligible through phone calls and text messages. The boosters are now available at over 850 pharmacies and drug stores, according to the governor’s office, but some chains like Walmart said they are still waiting on doses to arrive. State health care officials recommend Marylanders use the state’s COVID Vaccination Site Searcher for the most updated locations with boosters available.

“We continue to encourage all Marylanders to be COVIDReady by getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible,” said Chase Cook, deputy director of media relations for the state health department.