Maryland is entering the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination program next week.
Governor Larry Hogan Thursday announced that Phase 1-B will protect people 75 or older, those who live in assisted living, independent living, developmental disabilities or behavioral health group homes as well as teachers, school support staff and childcare providers.
50,000 doses will be made available next week to hospitals, county health departments and federally qualified health centers to organize clinics that focus on the elderly. Another vaccination phase that will protect more sectors of Maryland’s populations is scheduled to start the following Monday, January 25th.
“A return to a sense of normalcy has been made possible by COVID-19 vaccines, which have been approved by America’s leading medical experts, and which have 95 percent efficacy,” Hogan said. “The process was rigorous and transparent throughout with continual FDA oversight and expert approval. Getting vaccinated is critical to preventing more illnesses and more deaths, and it will keep you, your family, your friends, and your community healthy and safe.”
The governor’s office also announced the following developments Thursday:
PILOT PROGRAM WITH GIANT AND WALMART PHARMACIES
The State of Maryland is launching a pilot program for COVID-19 vaccines to be administered at Giant and Walmart pharmacies beginning the week of January 25. This initial program will be available at 22 Giant locations across the state, three Martin’s locations in Allegany and Washington counties, as well as 10 Walmart locations in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. As the federal allocation of vaccines increases, the state will bring more pharmacies and more locations online.
NEW ONLINE VACCINATION SITE LOCATOR
Marylanders who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination can now visit covidvax.maryland.gov and enter their address, ZIP code, or location to view vaccination clinics available within a 50-mile radius. Users are then directed to contact the clinic of their choice for scheduling and more information. Additional sites will be added as providers verify they are ready.
STATE PREPARES TO LAUNCH MASS VACCINATION SITES
In anticipation of when the federal allocation of vaccines increases, the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland National Guard are working with private sector partners to open mass vaccination sites at central locations across the state.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT AND FLEXIBILITY FOR COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS
Local Flexibility. State officials are granting county leaders the flexibility to move through the phases of vaccination protocols faster, so long as they prioritize the elderly and the most vulnerable populations in their jurisdictions.
Emergency Vaccination Teams. The National Guard has begun dispatching emergency vaccination teams to county health departments that have requested assistance.
Additional National Guard Support Personnel. Governor Hogan has expanded the National Guard’s vaccination mission to include providing support personnel to supplement licensed healthcare providers at COVID-19 testing sites, freeing up more nurses to administer vaccinations.
Volunteer Vaccinators For 16 Jurisdictions. Through the Maryland Responds Medical Reserves Corps, state health officials have recruited and allocated 771 volunteers for county vaccination clinics. Ten jurisdictions have taken advantage of this program, including Baltimore, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, and Wicomico counties, as well as Baltimore City. Six more counties are in the process of receiving volunteers.
Authorizing Out-of-State Practitioners. State health officials have issued an order authorizing out-of-state practitioners to prepare and administer vaccines in Maryland.