Hogan: Maryland to expand vaccine eligibility starting early next week

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Due to improved COVID-19 vaccine infrastructure and an expected increase in vaccine supply from the federal government within the next few weeks, Maryland will be able to move into the second phase of its vaccine distribution plan starting early next week, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday.

The state is currently in Phase 1C of its vaccine distribution plan, which prioritizes Marylanders ages 65-74, those with certain immunocompromised conditions, and some essential workers such as teachers and medical staff.

“The state of Maryland will now enter Phase 2 of our COVID-19 vaccine plan. Beginning next Tuesday, March 23 under Phase 2A all Marylanders age 60 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Hogan said at a news conference at the State House in Annapolis.

Hogan added: And immediately, effective today, any Marylander over the age of 60 can pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at any of the state’s mass vaccination sites.”

Hogan said he expects the new batch of vaccines to arrive in Maryland around March 29. Hogan said it is not yet known exactly how many vaccines the state is slated to receive but that it is a significant amount.

Hogan said that on March 30 the state will move into Phase 2B its vaccination plan and that that will make all Marylanders ages 16 and over who have “underlying medical conditions” eligible for vaccination. Hogan said that on April 13 the state will move into Phase 2C of its vaccination plan and that that will include all Marylanders ages 55 and older as well as all essential workers who work in “critical industries.” Hogan said that by April 27 the state move into the third and final stage of its vaccination plan, which will include all Marylanders ages 16 and older.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of making all American adults eligible for vaccination by May 1.

Hogan noted that just because an individual is eligible to be vaccinated that does not mean they necessarily will be at the time of registration due to limited supply of the vaccine.

Hogan said that while he is “hopeful” that the federal government will deliver on its promise of more vaccines he cannot guarantee that that will happen by the date he said he anticipates that to happen by.

At Thursday’s news conference, Hogan announced that the state will set up mobile vaccine clinics in underserved areas of the state that will be operated by the University of Maryland School of Nursing and the Maryland National Guard. The mobile clinics are designed to increase vaccine equity.

There are 396,746 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as of Thursday morning, according to the Department of Health, and 7,929 people in Maryland have died from the virus. The state’s positivity rate is at 4.07%, which is within CDC recommended guidelines for containment. Maryland has conducted nearly 8.4 million COVID-19 tests.

Maryland’s health care providers have administered more than 2 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. More than 23% of state’s population has had at least one shot and an average of about 43,000 doses are being administered each day.