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Kent County Leads Maryland With COVID-19 Vaccinations, But Some Say More Populated Counties Need Higher Percentage Of Doses

CHESTERTOWN, Md. (WJZ) -- COVID-19 vaccination doses and rates are different depending on where Marylanders live, and of all of the jurisdictions in the state, Kent County is the highest performing.

The county's health officer, Bill Webb, said it's simple math.

"Vaccinations are the health department's bread and butter. We do this every year with flu shots," Webb said.

Each county gets a minimum number of doses, and Kent County is able to vaccinate more of its population. Statistics show more populated areas lagging behind.

Allocations are based on population tiers, and there is a floor for how many doses each county receives.

The ten counties in Maryland under 100,000 people currently get 300 first doses each week. The six counties with between 100,000 and 200,000 residents get 700 weekly first doses, and the top eight most-populated counties get just under 1,000.

Adjusted for population, Kent County is getting about ten times the number of first doses from the state each week than Baltimore City. That's why the county leads the state in the percentage of residents vaccinated and other rural counties fare similarly well.

Meanwhile, Prince George's County -- the county with the highest number of COVID-19 cases -- is at the bottom with several urban jurisdictions.


"We need equitable distribution, not just equal distribution of that vaccine," said Dr. Melissa Marx with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Public health officials said some supply chain issues are to blame but that more populated areas need a greater share of the available doses.

"Looking at the rates of infection in Prince George's County, that's where we need to be. We have a lot of people living in crowded housing, a lot of essential workers there," Marx said.

Local officials want more supply, of course, but they also want it directly.

To help address the city's slow pace, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday applied public pressure in the hopes Johnson & Johnson would sell vaccine doses directly to the city, something Gov. Larry Hogan said is up to the federal government.

"It's a nice try. Everybody would like to jump to the front of the line, but it's not going to happen," Hogan said.

In a letter to Hogan, Scott and leaders of 21 other Maryland counties asked for more transparency in vaccine allocation projections.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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