ROCKVILLE, Md (WDVM) — In Montgomery County this week, Johns Hopkins Medicine began administering COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible county residents and public school employees.

The initiative seeks to better prepare for the upcoming opening of public schools.

The state provided almost 8,775 doses of the vaccine to JHM for this initiative on top of their regular distribution of the vaccine for the hospital’s staff and patients.

“We are excited about this partnership because working together, we can have a more effective vaccination strategy,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “With the vaccine in such limited supply, we need to work together to reach as many of the eligible populations as quickly as possible.”

MCPS says they will identify their eligible employees and will refer them to JHM to be scheduled. Superintendent Jack Smith said they are grateful for this collaboration.

“The vaccine offers a significant level of prevention against acquiring COVID-19 and increases the level of safety for staff and students,” Smith said. “Providing access to the vaccine to our employees is a crucial step toward a return to a level of normalcy for all of us and a return to in-person instruction.”