Get A Boost: Gov. Hogan Details COVID-19 Booster Shot Initiative
Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot? When should it happen? What is the availability?
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Thursday was looking to clarify uncertainty over the booster, and he strongly encouraged Marylanders who are leigible to immediately get their booster shot.
“If you are confused about boosters, you are not alone,” Hogan said. “In spite of that, Maryland health officials and our state team have spent the last several months building the infrastructure for a statewide operation for boosters. We have also already launched a vigorous outreach effort for those Marylanders who are currently eligible for a booster shot.”
Hogan said he would introduce emergency legislation to increase the state’s nurse workforce. He also called upon schools to take part in the COVID-19 testing program to minimize student quarantines.
Also, the Governor said he is directing state health officials to work with pediatricians, school systems and local health departments to accelerate their operational plans for vaccinating children between five and 11 years old. Pfizer earlier this week submitted data to the FDA showing that its vaccination is safe and effective for children. Approval is expected by the end of October.
More details below were released Thursday by the office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan:
Guidance on COVID-19 Booster Eligibility. Approximately 500,000 Marylanders who fall into the following categories are currently eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot:
- Immunocompromised Marylanders who received a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are also eligible for a booster shot.
- At this time, there is still no approval or guidance on Moderna boosters for the wider population.
Johnson & Johnson Eligibility
- At this time, there is no federal guidance for the more than 280,000 Marylanders who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
COVID-19 Booster Outreach Operation. The State of Maryland has administered over 78,000 COVID-19 booster shots and has launched a vigorous outreach effort for those Marylanders who are currently eligible.
- Last week, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) issued a bulletin directing vaccine providers to immediately make booster shots available to all eligible Marylanders.
- State health officials are engaging directly with Maryland nursing homes and congregate care facilities, local health departments, primary care physicians, hospitals pharmacies, and other providers.
- The statewide call center began directly contacting all eligible Marylanders this week. More than 30,000 appointments for booster shots have already been scheduled.
- Marylanders can visit covidvax.maryland.gov to find locations where Pfizer boosters are available.
- The State of Maryland is launching a series of television and radio ads encouraging eligible Marylanders to get their booster shot.
Next Steps on Vaccinating 5- to 11-Year-Olds. Governor Hogan directed state health officials to work closely with pediatricians, school systems, and local health departments to advance and accelerate their operation plans for vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds. This week, Pfizer submitted data to the FDA showing that its vaccination is safe and effective for children, and approval is expected by the end of October.
Update on K-12 School Testing Program. Last year, Maryland introduced a statewide testing program for schools, making up to 1 million tests available immediately for both public and nonpublic schools. The following resources are currently available:
- For the current school year, the Hogan administration has provided $182 million to local school systems for surveillance testing of the student population.
- The application period for this program has been extended to Oct. 10. So far, only 13 of the 24 public school systems are participating.
- MDH’s testing program currently has an additional 415,800 rapid tests available for schools to access.
Emergency Legislation to Increase Nursing Workforce. Governor Hogan announced that he will introduce emergency legislation to maximize the ability of state hospitals to increase their nursing workforce. This legislation would make permanent a number of the steps the governor announced last week to mitigate staffing shortages.
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Available. The State of Maryland has administered more than 13,000 monoclonal antibody treatments, which have helped avoid approximately 600 hospitalizations and more than 250 deaths. These treatments are available at more than 80 facilities statewide, and state health officials have directed clinicians to step up their utilization of monoclonal antibodies. To learn more, visit covidlink.maryland.gov.