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Gov. Larry Hogan says he’s received COVID booster shot as Maryland reaches 80% adult vaccination milestone

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that he has received a COVID-19 booster shot, as state health officials announced that 80% of adult residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Hogan, a cancer survivor, said he received his third dose of the vaccine Monday.

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“I feel great,” Hogan told Major Garrett on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

So far, third-dose boosters have been authorized only for immunocompromised individuals, such as solid organ transplant recipients. The Biden administration has announced plans to begin offering third doses Sept. 20 to adults at least eight months out from their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Officials say recipients of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine do not yet need a booster shot, although they may in the future.

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Hogan on Sunday urged the Food and Drug Administration, which must sign off on the boosters, to do so quickly.

“We’re pushing to speed up that time frame because we want to start,” Hogan said. “We’re already preparing in our state to start doing boosters for our nursing home residents and people that are in vulnerable populations. We want to get that final OK from the federal government.”

Hogan also urged the FDA to issue full approvals for the three vaccines in circulation, all of which have received emergency use authorizations. A full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected this week. Hogan called for the administration to approve vaccines for younger children as expeditiously as possible with schools opening for the fall. So far, only children 12 and older are able to receive the vaccine.

About 64% of 12- to 17-year-olds in Maryland have received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared with 80% of residents 18 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one that has been authorized for ages 12 to 17. Meanwhile, more than 90% of Marylanders over 65 have been vaccinated with at least one shot.

The Hogan administration has recently moved to require vaccination against COVID-19 for certain workers, including state employees working at congregate facilities like prisons, and all employees at hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland.

Hogan said he believes a full OK from the FDA is likely to push resistant Marylanders in other groups to get their shots.

“We actually did surveys, and the No. 1 reason stated for reluctancy or hesitancy to get the vaccine was that it’s not approved,” Hogan said.

It comes amid a rise of the more contagious delta variant across the nation. Maryland has the third-lowest coronavirus transmission rate of any state in the country but has still seen a tremendous rise in infections and hospitalizations since July. The 14-day average caseload, which last month sat below 100 new cases per day, was 929 cases a day as of Sunday. Nearly 650 people were hospitalized with the virus as of Sunday.

Hogan reiterated Sunday that he’s not planning to reinstate a mandate on mask-wearing in Maryland, although the state is recommending their use among unvaccinated people. About two-thirds of Maryland jurisdictions have mandated mask-wearing in schools.

“We’re very concerned about the spread of the delta variant all across the country, and it has impacted us,” Hogan said Sunday. “Our numbers are going up, but they’re going up from a very low place, and we’re still better off than a lot of people.”

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