Virus Mobile Vaccine Clinic

Grace John, who works at a school in San Lorenzo, gets a COVID-19 shot at a mobile vaccination clinic run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state in Hayward, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Terry Chea)

ANNAPOLIS — A federal COVID mass vaccination center is slated to open in Maryland next month.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the new mass vaccination center will open in Waldorf in southern Maryland at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Hogan said a COVID vaccine center is also slated to open on the Eastern Shore though he did not disclose details. Talbot County Health Office Dr. Maria Maguire said during a conference call on Tuesday there are expectations that the center would be located in Salisbury.

Hogan said the new Southern Maryland center will be supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The center is in Charles County and has proximity to Prince George’s County. Those two counties have the lowest COVID vaccination rates in the state for first doses with 8.4% in Charles and 6.2% in Prince George’s. Conversely, Talbot County has the second highest first dose vaccination rate in the state 18.6% behind only Worcester County at 19.1%.

President Joe Biden has mobilized FEMA as well as U.S. military troops to help set up federal vaccine centers in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dover, Delaware and other locations.

More than 100 federal vaccinators and support personnel will be deployed to FEMA’s Maryland center at the Waldorf ballpark.

The state of Maryland has opened mass vaccination centers at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County, the Baltimore Convention Center and a new one opening at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. National Guard troops help man those state centers.

Hogan announced the new center during a press briefing in Annapolis on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The governor also pointed to improving COVID metrics — including state hospitalizations for the virus moving below 1,000 patients.

The Maryland Department of Health reported Tuesday that 979 patients are hospitalized for the coronavirus statewide. That is down from more than 1,900 in January.

Hogan also issued a new executive order clarifying rules for face coverings at schools. The state order requires masks for anyone over the age of five where there will be interactions with others including classrooms, gyms, hallways and cafeterias.

The governor has been pushing for Maryland schools to reopen more for in-person classes.

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