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The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Fern Shen1:42 pmOct 5, 20230

Free Covid vaccines available starting this week, Baltimore Health Department announces

Armed with a batch of the new vaccine that targets the latest variant, the city is providing in-home shots for the homebound and a free walk-in clinic, starting tomorrow

Above: A new vaccine is available that targets the most prevalent new Covid virus variant. (harvard.edu)

With Covid-19 in Maryland on the uptick heading into the winter – and the latest vaccine hard to get from some local pharmacies – Baltimore health officials are urging residents to get the shots and making them available for free.

The department has received its first supply of the new Covid vaccine through the federal Bridge Access Program, allowing residents two ways to get immunized:

• Adults unable to leave their home without difficulty can register with the homebound vaccination program by calling 443-984-8650 to schedule in-home appointments.

• Adults over 18 without health insurance, or whose health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the vaccine, can receive the Moderna vaccination at no cost at the city’s health clinic, at 1200 East Fayette Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

U.S. health officials last month recommended the new round of shots for everyone six months old and older.

The latest vaccines, updated for the 2023-2024 respiratory virus season, target the most prevalent new Covid variant, XBB.1.5.

Experts urge caution as Maryland experiences summer upswing in Covid-19 cases (8/8/23)

“Covid infections and hospitalizations are on the rise, making it imperative that Baltimore residents get the new vaccine,” said Acting City Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller.

“That’s because the new Covid vaccine is the only vaccine developed to protect from the current, dominant strain that has proven more transmissible,” she pointed out.

Additional walk-in clinic dates will be posted on the Weekly Covid Clinic Schedule page on the health department’s website, spokesman Yianni Varonis told The Brew.

Free Testing and Test Kits

City health officials are also offering information on how to get free at-home Covid test kits.

Those who can’t afford one from a store (for about $20 for a box of two tests), can turn to to the city’s At-Home Rapid Testing page for resources, including:

• Order one free from the federal government covid.gov/tests.

• Some Enoch Pratt Free Library branches have them – check which ones here.

• The Harford, Zeta and Sandtown senior centers – check availability here.

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