Md. Expands Vaccine Network, Awaits More Supplies

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Maryland is building up its network of coronavirus vaccine services, including mass vaccination clinics and expansion of pharmacy partners.

Governor Larry Hogan, during a news conference Tuesday, said the state is now getting about 72,000 doses a week from the federal government, while two-million Marylanders are already eligible for vaccination.

“The truth is that this is not going to magically get better overnight,” Hogan said. “The last 10 months have been really hard—this is much, much harder. So I ask all Marylanders to please be patient with the vaccination providers. They are all doing the best they can with very little resources. When is it your turn, be ready to get the vaccine.”

Mass clinics are being planned at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Convention Center and Six Flags that could start next week. Hogan said locations for the Eastern Shore, southern Maryland and western Maryland are still being explored.

Other announcements from the Governor’s office Tuesday are as follows:

SAFEWAY AND RITE AID PHARMACIES TO BEGIN VACCINATIONS NEXT WEEK. The governor announced that the state will expand its pharmacy network of vaccinators next week to include select Safeway and Rite Aid locations. The state is utilizing data and modeling, along with input from local officials, to select pharmacies in underserved areas. Vaccinations are underway this week in Walmart, Giant, and Martin’s stores. As of next week, there will be 51 retail pharmacies providing vaccinations statewide, and that number will increase as the state receives more supply. The state will also partner with pharmacies to stand up mobile clinics in hard-to-reach areas. 

EXPANSION OF NATIONAL GUARD MISSION. Hundreds of members of the Maryland National Guard assigned to support inaugural activities in Washington, D.C. will be immediately reassigned to support the mission of standing up mass vaccination sites. The state will activate as many members of the National Guard as needed to complete this mission.

ADDITIONAL $219 MILLION FROM FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved an additional $219 million for the Maryland Department of Health to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. In addition, the state has requested FEMA’s assistance to support regional mass vaccination hubs.

ELIGIBILITY OPEN NEXT WEEK FOR SEVERELY IMMUNOCOMPROMISED POPULATIONS. After discussions among the state’s health systems, beginning on Monday, February 1, the state is expanding eligibility for some severely immunocompromised individuals, such as those receiving chemotherapy, and those with certain immune disorders who require frequent medical care. Those individuals will be eligible to receive vaccinations through hospital-based providers. State health officials will issue guidance to clinicians and providers.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS. More than 370 members of the Maryland National Guard have been deployed to support the state’s response to the pandemic, and have already assisted with thousands of vaccinations in Prince George’s, Charles, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Cecil, St. Mary’s, and Talbot counties. The state has also now deployed 825 members of the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps to support 11 local jurisdictions.