ESSEX — As Baltimore County faces the looming threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant and has seen tens of thousands of new virus cases since the pandemic began, healthcare workers are redoubling their efforts to educate and administer vaccinations as quickly as possible. Healthcare nonprofit Baltimore Medical System has analyzed neighborhoods with low rates of vaccine coverage and found that only 39% of BMS patients in zip code 21221 in Essex are vaccinated.
BMS president and CEO Shirley Sutton said that the health center at Middlesex is trying to help finish the vaccine job, by holding two free walk-up vaccine clinics in October – one on Oct. 9 and another on Oct. 30.
“BMS is a friendly, community-based organization that is providing the vaccine in zip codes where it is needed,” Sutton said in an interview. “It is our goal to provide all of the health services that we can, and vaccines are included in that.”
She said that it is critical for people, particularly those with underlying medical conditions, to get their shots in a timely manner, or else the pandemic will continue to drag on and society will never return to a sense or normal.
“It is making the situation worse than it needs to be,” she said. “BMS is challenged every day with keeping patients healthy, and we can’t afford for this enemy that I call Covid to come in and undo all of the efforts that we have made.”
A large number of those left unvaccinated are Black / African American, and a goal of the clinic is to have staff on site to respond to myths and answer questions, in addition to giving out the vaccine.
“There is a lack of trust out there,” Sutton said, “and the clinic is trying to provide people with the facts and get the community interested and confident enough to take the vaccine.”
Anyone ages 12 years and older is eligible to receive a vaccine; patients ages 12-17 will need consent from a parents or guardian, according to a press release. Only first or second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered; vaccination cards must be presented to receive a second dose.
“I am glad to have the opportunity and resources to bring this service to Eastern Baltimore County, and I hope that people will respond to our request to come out,” Sutton said.
Covid-19 vaccine clinics
Baltimore Medical System at Middlesex; 1245 Eastern Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21221
Saturday, October 9; 10am – 1pm
Saturday, October 30; 10am – 1pm
No appointments needed.
Contact Baltimore Medical System at Middlesex at 410-675-9847 or visit BMSI.org for more information.