Md. Authorizes COVID-19 Boosters For Seniors In Congregate Care Centers

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the state is immediately authorizing COVID-19 booster shots for Marylanders 65 and older who live in congregate care settings. This would include seniors in nursing homes, assisted living, residential drug treatment centers and group homes for people with developmental disabilities.

“For several weeks now, states have had to operate without clear guidance from the federal government regarding these booster shots,” Hogan said. “The limited guidance we have received has been confusing and contradictory, and it is still unclear when and how more people will become eligible. But all of the evidence makes it abundantly clear that we cannot afford to delay taking decisive action to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

The Governor’s Office provided the following details:

Boosters for Seniors in Congregate Care Facilities. Based on available data and guidance, congregate care facilities in Maryland can immediately begin offering booster shots to Marylanders 65 and older who are in their care.

Read the Maryland Department of Health order for nursing homes.
Read the Maryland Department of Health order for other congregate care facilities.

Antibody Testing Program. Last month, the State of Maryland launched an Antibody Testing Program for nursing home residents to ascertain their current levels of immunity from COVID-19. The pilot program, which was one of the first of its kind in the country, included more than 500 residents from across the state. The findings reported by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) indicate that more than 60% of residents demonstrated some form of waning immunity over time, and as many as one in three were particularly vulnerable. 

Booster Shots for Immunocompromised Marylanders. MDH has issued guidance instructing all pharmacies and providers across the state to administer boosters to anyone who considers themselves to be immunocompromised, without a prescription or doctor’s order. Providers will be required to report any booster shots they administer in the same manner that first and second doses are reported.

Read the Maryland Department of Health guidance.

Community COVID-19 Vaccination Project. Governor Hogan announced the launch of the Community COVID-19 Vaccination Project, a $3 million community-based, door-to-door canvassing effort to directly engage Marylanders living in areas with low vaccination rates in order to encourage more vaccinations and provide health education in at-risk neighborhoods.

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. The State of Maryland has completed more than 10,000 infusions of monoclonal antibodies, which have helped avoid approximately 500 hospitalizations and 200 fatalities. These treatments are available at more than 30 facilities, including the Baltimore Convention Center, City of Praise Family Ministries near FedExField, and through a number of hospital systems, including the University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins, MedStar, Meritus, TidalHealth, Anne Arundel Medical Center, and Garrett Regional Medical Center.

Marylanders who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to talk to their health care provider to see if monoclonal antibodies are an appropriate treatment. More information can be found by visiting covidlink.maryland.gov

Continues Calls for Federal Action on Vaccines. Governor Hogan continued to press the federal government for more progress on vaccines, including:

  • Addressing boosters for Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • Advancing full FDA approval of all three COVID-19 vaccines
  • Expediting the approval process for vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds