Montgomery County Maryland proof of COVID-19 vaccine

There are still several factors that the board must take into account in order to enforce the vaccination passports.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland – Montgomery County leaders may soon introduce a vaccination mandate that would require everyone eligible for the vaccine, including children, to provide proof of vaccination to enter businesses in the jurisdiction.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, county council members expressed some hesitation over the public health suggestion. While executives have yet to elaborate on the details of this proposed public health enforcement proposal, they said they are working to determine several factors before it reaches an approval vote.

Board members envision a few unique challenges, such as whether fines should be imposed for not following the proposed policy or how the ordinance will impact local businesses.

Council Chairman Gabe Albornoz said executives have already spoken to some companies that are not categorically opposed to the ordinance, but still need to hear from more companies and hope to do so when of an upcoming roundtable and a public testimony session.

Another factor considered by the board concerns changes that may need to be made. The current proposal presents the current order of vaccines in Montgomery County as being fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19. But with recent changes and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials, it’s become clear that three doses is the safe amount, right now.

Council Chairman Albornoz said this could pose a problem when implementing a possible vaccine passport, as some people are not eligible or cannot receive the vaccine.

The council said it was still not clear on how they planned to view those falling under religious exemptions when it came to vaccine passports. Council Chairman Albornoz said that factor was one of the reasons leaders decided to withdraw the public health suggestion to get questions answered.

Council President Albornoz said he believed that if Council approved the proposal as is without recommendations for amendments, it could likely not be voted on.

In the meantime, the council plans to hear from the community who will have to get by.

Neighboring jurisdictions such as DC have already issued a vaccination warrant. Starting January 15 at 6 a.m., some facilities in the district are required to ensure that their clients aged 12 and over receive at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine. On February 15, all clients will be required to have two doses.

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