BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the first time, the Baltimore City Convention Center opened for vaccinations. The line for the new mass vaccination site there started forming in advance of the first appointments at 2 p.m. Friday.

 

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Among those waiting, there was no hesitation.

“I’m very excited, and it’s worth waiting in line,” said Lawana Gray.

 

Diann Clayborne told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren she was alerted through a church group about appointments and signed up along with her friends. “Anything that’s going to save my life. I’m going to take it,” Clayborne said.

 

Asked what she wants to do once she is fully vaccinated, she said, “I’m going to start traveling and I’m going to see loved ones. And I’m going to eat out again. And party!”

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Vaccinations at the convention center will take place Monday through Friday and starting February 13th, on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. You must have an appointment. No walk-ins are accepted. Here is the website to sign up.

Only 2 percent of Maryland’s population has been fully vaccinated. The state is advising providers not to use supplies meant for second doses for those getting their first vaccination.

 

A second mass vaccination site also opened Friday at Six Flags in Prince George’s County. Governor Larry Hogan called it a “soft opening.” It offers drive-thru vaccinations and will eventually serve as many as 6,000 people a day. For now, only 250 each day can get the shots, and they have to live in the county.

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The governor said a website for the Six Flags vaccinations booked 10,000 appointments in 20 minutes.

“Supply is the number one issue,” Hogan told reporters. “We can’t do anything without the vaccines.”

While the governor acknowledges the supply problem, he faces criticism that local health departments are now getting only a fraction of the doses they were receiving just last week as the dwindling supply is spread out to new sites.

“The idea eventually is to build an infrastructure that can handle millions of vaccines with thousands of vaccinations across the state. That’s the only way it’s going to get done. It’s not going to get done by 24 local health departments or a couple of hospitals,” the governor said.

He also noted, “Just based on the gross number of vaccines, there are more of them in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County than anywhere else in the state. We’ve just got to get them in people’s arms.”

Baltimore City’s mayor has written to Governor Hogan about the supply issues.

“The prioritization of people has been dictated to us, and the unacceptable low supply that we have been allotted is not allowing us to deliver the vaccine to those at highest risk of contracting the disease,” Mayor Brandon Scott said at a Friday afternoon press conference.

 

The governor also defended the state’s decision not to have a single website to sign up for vaccinations. Critics say the patchwork approach is confusing and not working.

“What we don’t want is to have one central site that 6 million people are crashing that doesn’t work,” Governor Hogan said.

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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.