May 26, 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 redeploys COVID-19 mobile vaccination public education unit in Baltimore communities

MDH renews outreach efforts and resources to specific Baltimore neighborhoods to increase vaccination rates   

Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is redeploying a mobile public health education unit – known as a “sound truck” – to conduct outreach to help increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in specific Baltimore communities. The sound truck will operate from Wednesday, May 26, 2021 through Sunday, May 30, 2021 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day.

The sound truck serves as a key component of MDH’s community engagement efforts to ensure that every Marylander has the information needed to make the decision to get vaccinated. This week, the unit will circulate through Baltimore’s 21223, 21213, 21205, 21216, and 21217 ZIP codes. 

Outfitted with COVID-19 informational banners, the truck will broadcast COVID-19 prevention practices and vaccine messages in English and Spanish from its public-address system. Representatives from MDH and the Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP will distribute informational flyers in English and Spanish and free face masks at each of the truck’s stops.

“As the state begins to turn the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue our efforts to make sure residents in all communities understand the life-saving benefits of COVID-19 vaccines and where they can go to get vaccinated,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “The sound truck will deliver this critical information directly to Baltimore residents in the neighborhoods where they live.” 

The truck’s daily route will include stops at key, well-populated areas of Baltimore including Sandtown-Winchester, Clifton, Pigtown, Gwynns Falls, Dunbar, Broadway, Penn North and others. The effort is supported by numerous community partners, including the Baltimore City Health Department and Mayor’s Office and the NAACP of Baltimore.

“MDH is committed to the fight against this deadly virus and will take every step necessary to bring vaccines to residents of Baltimore’s neighborhoods that have been adversely affected,” said Dr. Mark Martin, deputy director of MDH’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and a member of Maryland’s Vaccine Equity Task Force. “We have created a model for outreach that we will continue to use in other jurisdictions as needed.”

The Baltimore Branch of the NAACP owns and operates the sound truck and is a key partner in getting vaccination messaging out to the public. 

“We must continue to get the word out to stay safe by wearing masks and avoiding crowds. And the mobile public health education unit will help us share the message that the vaccine is our best shot for ending the pandemic,” said Reverend Kobi Little, President of the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP.  “Now that children 12 and older are eligible for the vaccine, we want to share information on how everyone who wants the vaccine can get the vaccine.”
                                    st.png
(The mobile public health education unit "sound truck" during outreach to Baltimore communities surrounding Patterson Park in October 2020)

Residents are encouraged to get a vaccine at any of the hundreds of vaccine distribution points throughout Baltimore, including the mass vaccination sites at the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital and M&T Bank Stadium locations. While no appointment is required, those wishing to guarantee a time slot may schedule an appointment by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or calling toll-free 855-MD-GOVAX. Both of Baltimore City’s mass vaccination sites offer the Pfizer vaccines, which are authorized for individuals 12 years of age and older. 

The effects of COVID-19 on minority communities are outlined here. Additional COVID-19 information and resources are available at coronavirus.maryland.gov.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media are invited to join outreach volunteers at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26 at the staging area in Pennsylvania Avenue Triangle Park (Pennsylvania Avenue and Presstman Street). Members of the media are welcome to attend to see the “sound truck” in action and capture b-roll. Dr. Mark Martin, Deputy Director of the MDH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, will be available on-site starting at 12:00 p.m. for interviews about outreach efforts.


 ###


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 at twitter.com/MDHealthDept and facebook.com/MDHealthDept.