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    Members of the media are invited to join outreach volunteers at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the MacGruder Park Recreation Center in Hyattsville City Park, 3911 Hamilton Street, Hyattsville, Md. to take photos and b-roll before the sound truck launch at 10 a.m. Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead, Commander of the Army National Guard and lead of the state’s Vaccine Equity Task Force, Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, who represents District 21, and Dr. Mark Martin, Deputy Director of the MDH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, will be available for interviews and to answer questions about outreach efforts in the area.

    February 19, 2021

    Media Contact:

    Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536

    Charles Gischlar, Deputy Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-6491

    Maryland Department of Health brings mobile sound truck to Prince George’s County as part of GoVAX outreach campaign

    MDH’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities provides information in neighborhoods hit hard by COVID-19; encourages vaccination participation

    Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will launch an outreach effort providing information about COVID-19 prevention and vaccination availability to pre-selected neighborhoods in Prince George’s County starting Saturday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m.

    After the initial launch of the mobile public health education unit – or sound truck – on Saturday in ZIP code 20783, the truck will continue to circulate through specific neighborhoods for six additional days from Feb. 21 to 26, traveling designated routes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Direct outreach to targeted neighborhoods through the use of the sound truck is part of the grassroots strategy of the statewide GoVAX campaign, announced by Governor Larry Hogan on January 29.

    “The pandemic has presented challenges for all Marylanders and disproportionately impacted some of the state’s minority communities,” said Acting MDH Secretary Dennis Schrader. “The GoVAX campaign is designed to bring information and resources to areas hardest hit and help Marylanders make informed choices about getting vaccinated.”

    The truck, outfitted with COVID-19 informational banners, will broadcast prevention and vaccination messages from its public-address system in Spanish and English. Volunteers will distribute informational flyers in Spanish and English and provide free face masks at designated stops along the route.

    Messaging focuses on the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines, the importance of getting vaccinated when eligible, getting tested if exposed to COVID or experiencing symptoms, isolating when sick, continuing to maintain social distance, properly wearing face coverings and how to locate available resources for families impacted by the pandemic.

    “This ZIP code has one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state,” said Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, who represents District 21, spanning parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. “Who lives in 20783? Immigrants. Latinos. It’s the towns of Hyattsville, Langley Park, Adelphi and Chillum. I am passionate about being a GoVAX Ambassador because it is no surprise to me that black and brown people are being affected the most by COVID-19.”

    “MDH first used the sound truck in Baltimore’s 21224 ZIP Code to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 and improve outcomes,” said Mark Martin, Deputy Director of MDH’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. “The sound truck is one of many outreach activities we will be using as part of the GoVAX campaign to bring information and resources to underserved communities and vulnerable populations across the state.”  

    To learn more about the effects of COVID-19 on minority communities, please click here. Additional COVID-19 information and resources are available at coronavirus.maryland.gov.


    The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement. Follow us on Twitter @MDHealthDept and at Facebook.com/MDHealthDept.