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Governor Hogan announces statewide actions to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday evening announced a series of actions to accelerate the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the State of Maryland.

“While the initial distribution of vaccines does offer a glimmer of hope, we still have a long way to go in this fight,” said Governor Hogan. “Distributing and administering vaccines throughout 2021 will be without question the greatest peacetime undertaking in American history, and will be a massive, all-hands-on-deck, ongoing operation between the federal, state, and local governments and the private sector. I want to assure the people of Maryland that we are going to leverage every resource to get more shots into more arms as quickly as we possibly can, in a safe and orderly way.”

To date, the state has successfully allocated and deployed 270,150 doses of COVID-19 vaccines—representing 98.7% of all the doses that the federal government has allocated to the State of Maryland. According to official data from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the state has conducted 76,916 vaccinations, including a single-day record of 11,553 on Monday.

STATEWIDE ACTIONS TO ACCELERATE VACCINATIONS

This evening, Governor Hogan announced a series of initial steps to help providers accelerate the rate of vaccinations as safely and quickly as possible.

  1. NATIONAL GUARD EMERGENCY VACCINATION TEAMS. Beginning tomorrow, the Maryland National Guard will dispatch emergency support teams to assist local health departments with their vaccination clinics. Each of these teams will consist of 14 guard members who will assist with administering vaccines and providing logistical support.
  2. 700 VOLUNTEERS READY TO ASSIST WITH VACCINATIONS. Through the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, state health officials have already identified 700 qualified volunteers ready and willing to help with vaccine administration. MDH will share this information with local health officers to help them expand their clinics.
  3. EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR FASTER DATA REPORTING. Reporting lags are making it difficult for state health officials to receive an accurate picture of vaccine administration in the state. Governor Hogan has issued an executive order requiring all providers in the State of Maryland to report data to ImmuNet within 24 hours after vaccines are administered.
  4. MORE STATE RESOURCES FOR HOSPITALS. The governor has offered the Maryland Hospital Association all resources at the state’s disposal—including PPE, vaccinators, and logistical support—to speed the pace of vaccinations of critical hospital workers.
  5. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PROVIDERS WITH LOWER USAGE RATES. State health officials have issued an order, which states that any facility that has not administered at least 75% of their total first dose allocation may have their future allocations reduced until they can prove their ability to meet capacity. The same order also requires providers to, whenever possible, allocate excess doses to local health departments for priority populations. Read the health order.
  6. ‘SOUTHWEST AIRLINES’ MODEL FOR ROLLING ALLOCATION. The state is adopting a rolling vaccine allocation model where we will not wait for all the members of a particular priority group to get vaccinated before moving on to the next group in line.

UPDATED PHASE 1 GUIDANCE AND TIMELINE

Based in part on the recommendations of the federal government’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the state is updating and expanding priority populations for vaccinations.

Maryland Vaccination Plan Phases 20210105

Phase 1A. The state continues to progress through Phase 1A, and has expanded the priority populations to include all licensed, registered, and certified healthcare providers. Local health departments have begun to make arrangements with providers to get them vaccinated in the coming days and weeks. Vaccinations will also soon be underway for correctional officers, law enforcement agencies, and front line judiciary staff. Overall, Phase 1A includes more than 500,000 Marylanders.

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Phase 1B. The expanded Phase 1B includes all Marylanders age 75 and older, special needs group homes, high-risk inmates, developmentally disabled populations, continuity of government vaccinations, as well as teachers, child care, and education staff. The Maryland State Department of Education will immediately begin coordination with school systems to get their critical personnel vaccinated. Phase 1B includes an estimated 860,000 Marylanders. Based on the current pace of allocation, the state expects to fully enter Phase 1B by late January.

Phase 1C. The new Phase 1C now includes all Marylanders ages 65-74, and workers in other critical sectors, including grocery stores, public transit, agriculture production, and manufacturing. Phase 1C includes an estimated 772,000 Marylanders. Based on the current pace of allocation, the state expects to fully enter Phase 1C by early March.

Phase 2. The updated Phase 2 includes Marylanders ages 16-64 who are at increased risk of COVID-19 illness due to comorbidities, as well as essential workers in critical utilities and other sectors. Overall, Phase 2 includes an estimated 1.1 million Marylanders.

UPDATE ON FEDERAL PHARMACY PARTNERSHIP FOR NURSING HOMES

Through a federal contract, CVS and Walgreens are responsible for administering vaccines to the state’s nursing home residents and staff. To date, the pharmacies have administered 13.8 percent of the doses they have received.

The governor contacted Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar earlier this week to express concern about the slow pace of the program. In addition, the governor spoke directly to the CEOs of both CVS and Walgreens today. CVS says it has completed twice as many vaccinations as are being reported, and will work with state health officials to address gaps in data reporting. Walgreens says it has scheduled clinics at all nursing homes it was assigned.

HOW THE VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PROCESS WORKS

Federal Government and MDH

The governor laid out point-by-point how vaccine distribution works:

  • Each week, the federal government informs each state of their allocation and opens its ordering system, known as ‘Tiberius.’
  • The state then places its orders and notifies providers so they can prepare their clinics.
  • Those orders are shipped directly to providers from the CDC through Operation Warp Speed. Orders have been arriving staggered over the course of the following week.
  • Vaccine administration is the responsibility of each provider.

STAY INFORMED

The state will issue vaccination updates through a number of channels, including our statewide 2-1-1 texting service. To opt-in to receive these alerts, text ‘MdReady’ to 898-211. Marylanders are also encouraged to visit covidlink.maryland.gov to review safety information and learn more about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The full transcript from Tuesday’s press conference is available online here.

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