GERMANTOWN, Md. — Montgomery County's new mass vaccination site opens to all eligible Marylanders on Thursday.
For the past week, it's only been open to Montgomery County residents. The state is taking over running the site on Thursday as well and will more than double the capacity to 3,000 doses a day.
Michael Johnson got his second dose on Wednesday, saying the process ran smoothly.
“It just really frees me up," Johnson said. "I feel so much safer for myself, for my family. I have brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, that I haven’t seen for over a year.”
It had been weeks of back and forth between county leaders and Governor Larry Hogan before Montgomery County was able to secure a mass vaccination center.
“We're long overdue to have this site," Council President Tom Hucker said.
Currently, Hucker said their residents are traveling all over to get the shot, with 100 people a day driving approximately two-and-a-half hours to Salisbury for theirs.
He said this site is a win for the entire state -- not just for Montgomery County.
“We're really the economic engine of the of the of the state, it's going to help us reopen as quickly as possible safely so we can get the whole state's economy back on track to recovery," Hucker said.
Montgomery County has been reopening more slowly than the state, as leaders have criticized the Governor's restriction rollbacks.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan addressed the back-and-forth when he visited the site Wednesday, saying, “We’re not going to agree on every single thing. The good news is we all agree on how important it is to fight this COVID silent enemy and that we get everybody vaccinated.”
FEMA also opened a federally-run mass vaccination site at the Greenbelt metro station Wednesday, which will offer shots to everyone, not just Marylanders.
Karen Yu said she felt it was her responsibility to get vaccinated. When enough people have the shots, she said she's looking forward to one thing: "Just take off the freaking mask!"
Vaccine eligibility opens to all Marylanders 16 and older on Monday, April 12, according to the Maryland Department of Health.