Md. Rolls Out COVID-19 Booster Program
Many Marylanders need a boost.
Effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines that were administered up to eleven months ago is starting to wear off. The state is especially focused on getting people who have underlying conditions or comorbidities to get a booster shot as soon as possible.
“From day one of this crisis, our focus has always been on preventing hospitalizations and deaths, and these vaccines have all proven to be extremely effective at this,” Hogan said. “However, the data we now have clearly does show that the level of protection does begin to wane over time, beginning after five or six months, especially for those who are immunocompromised, have comorbidities, and are most vulnerable. State health officials have issued an advisory strongly urging people with comorbidities to get a booster dose as soon as possible.”
More than half of Maryland’s COVID-19 deaths over the past month were connected to hypertension and diabetes.
Governor Larry Hogan’s office released additional COVID-19 updates Monday:
Guidance on COVID-19 Booster Eligibility. Nearly 1.4 million Marylanders who fall into the following categories are currently eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot:
Mix and Match. At the recommendation of both the FDA and CDC, eligible Marylanders can choose any vaccine as a booster shot, even if it is different from what they initially received.
Eligible Marylanders with Comorbidities Urged to Get Booster Immediately. With data showing an increase in the share of post-vaccination infections and deaths since May—the vast majority of which are linked to underlying conditions and comorbidities—state health officials have issued an advisory strongly urging people with comorbidities to get a booster dose as soon as possible.
More than half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths over the last month are linked to hypertension and diabetes. Cancer, obesity, and chronic lung disease are other leading comorbidities among COVID-19 deaths in Maryland. A full list of comorbidities and underlying medical conditions associated with higher risk of severe COVID-19 is available here.
COVID-19 Booster Outreach Operation and New Eligibility Portal. The State of Maryland has administered approximately 280,000 COVID-19 booster shots, and a vigorous outreach effort is underway for all Marylanders who are newly eligible.
- To help Marylanders determine their eligibility for a COVID-19 booster, state health officials have launched a new portal on covidvax.maryland.gov where residents can enter their information and learn next steps.
- The statewide call center continues to proactively contact all eligible Marylanders. More than 100,000 appointments for booster shots have already been scheduled.
- Marylanders can visit covidvax.maryland.gov to find locations where boosters are available.
Next Steps on Vaccinating 5- to 11-Year-Olds. CDC authorization is anticipated as early as next week for 5- to 11-year-olds, which would make approximately 515,000 Maryland children immediately eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer submitted data to the federal government showing that its vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in children.
State health officials have begun placing orders for an initial 180,00 Pfizer doses for 5- to 11-year-olds, working in partnership with pediatricians, pharmacies, school systems, local health departments, and the Vaccine Equity Task Force.