Maryland Expands Text-Based Outreach to Book Vaccine Appointments for Prince George’s County Residents
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Maryland officials have expanded text-based outreach to book vaccine appointments for eligible Prince George’s County residents at the Six Flags America mass vaccination site. To help ensure vaccine equity, the state has committed to set aside at least 500 Six Flags appointments for county residents, in addition to what county residents are able to book online and through the state’s call center.
During beta testing of this appointment-making tool over the weekend, the state conducted outreach to a subset of the Prince George’s County pre-registration list and invited those individuals to sign up for appointments. On Sunday, this led to filling all 300 slots that were available.
With this appointment-booking tool, each resident is contacted three times over the span of several days, and with each attempt, the response rate increases to as high as 96%. The time it takes an individual to complete this process through the SMS appointment booking tool is 1-3 minutes. State officials update the county on who has been scheduled for appointments or has already been vaccinated.
This system builds on a pilot program the state launched in late January to book appointments through outbound calls to Prince George’s County residents. Additional actions that the state has taken to support vaccination efforts in Prince George’s County include:
- In January, the Maryland National Guard deployed its first vaccination support team to the Prince George’s County Health Department’s clinic.
- MDH has assigned 50 volunteers from the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps to the county.
- The state prioritized Prince George’s County for the retail pharmacy program to expand the availability of vaccines.
- The state placed the first mass vaccination site at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County, and guarantees at least 500 appointments per week for county residents, in addition to what they are able to book online and through the call center.
Governor Hogan has appointed Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead to head up the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force, which is also engaging directly with county leaders.
A telephone-based support line is available for residents without internet access who require assistance finding providers and making appointments for mass vaccination sites. The COVID-19 Vaccination Support Center—available at 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829)—is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.