Coronavirus in Maryland: Harford School To Get Tested Ahead of Private Prom; State Works To Build Confidence In J&J Vaccine

When Harford County’s health officer learned about parents planning a private prom, he decided to be proactive and make sure if the event was held, it would be safe.

Video Transcript

VIC CARTER: Maryland is working to combat vaccine hesitancy and maintain confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is, again, in use in our State. WJZ investigator, Mike Hellgren, is live in M&T Bank Stadium with the push to vaccinate. Mike.

MIKE HELLGREN: Vic, one new nationwide poll shows that a lot of people, most unvaccinated Americans, have lost faith in Johnson & Johnson and simply don't want it. But when it comes to vaccinations, we found a lot of enthusiasm here today.

- I just got vaccinated. Super excited.

MIKE HELLGREN: More people got the Pfizer shot at M&T Bank Stadium, as 58.6% of Maryland adults have received at least one dose of vaccine.

LARRY KORYCKI: If you can get one shot and perhaps save your life for the rest of what you have left of it, then why not?

MIKE HELLGREN: Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine is now available again in the State after being put on hold for 11 days over a handful of rare blood clots nationwide. Many tell us they're still confident in J&J.

ROBIN PALMER: I'm a female in the age group that was of concern. So I would have paid attention to the possible symptoms, but I know the odds were astronomical that any individual would have been affected.

MIKE HELLGREN: But a "Washington Post" ABC News poll finds most Americans who have yet to be vaccinated won't get Johnson & Johnson and don't not believe it's safe.

LETITIA DZIRASA: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine's known and potential benefits outweigh its known potential risks. However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of this rare but increased risk of this adverse event.

DAVID BISHAI: I would take J&J for me and for my family.

MIKE HELLGREN: As Maryland works to overcome vaccine hesitancy statewide, Harford County has one of the highest positivity rates, about 2% higher than the Maryland average. The county's health officer says he is being proactive. When he heard some parents were arranging private proms, he warned them of the dangers, then worked to arrange testing for students.

DAVID BISHAI: Maybe we'll prevent a few transmission cases at this event. I just didn't want it to go forward without doing everything we can to keep it safe.

MIKE HELLGREN: And he is working in conjunction with the State Health Department. They will provide testing to everyone at one Harford County School tomorrow, even those people who are not attending a private prom. Reporting live at the M&T Bank Stadium vaccination site, Mike Hellgren, WJZ.