Starting next week, the state of Maryland will increase the number of vaccine appointments set aside for Prince George’s County residents at the mass vaccination site at Six Flags America in Bowie, Gov. Larry Hogan and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced in a statement Wednesday.

Appointments reserved for county residents will jump from 500 slots a week to 2,100.

The appointments will be for those who have preregistered through the county. Residents will book their appointments via text message after being contacted by the state.

Both Hogan and Alsobrooks said the effort would help ensure equitable access to the vaccine. Vaccination rates for Black, Hispanic and Latino Marylanders are significantly lower than their share of the state population.

Hispanic and Latino residents have received about 3.7 percent of the state’s administered doses, despite making up 10.6 percent of state residents. Black residents have received 16.4 percent of vaccinations while accounting for more than 31 percent of the population.

That disparity manifests starkly in Prince George’s County; it is the state jurisdiction with the highest percentage of Black residents and the lowest vaccination rate in the state.

“With vaccine supply from the federal government set to increase in the coming weeks, we are able to further expand priority appointments for Prince Georgians,” Hogan said in the statement.

The governor also credited Alsobrooks and her office for taking steps to ramp up the county’s vaccination rate.

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