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Maryland Gov. Hogan joins D.C. and Virginia leaders in urging federal officials to help vaccinate essential federal workers

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the governor of Virginia sent a letter to federal leaders Wednesday that urges them to help distribute vaccines to essential federal workers across the region.

The local leaders said that with more than 281,000 people who work for the federal government living in the National Capital Region, it would be difficult to prioritize getting the essential workers vaccinated because the leaders are focused on vaccinating other residents. The federal government has identified more than 30,000 individuals as “critical personnel” for the continuity of government, local leaders said.

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Currently, residents are vaccinated in separate phases decided by each state, but federal agencies have been prioritizing certain employees, including the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the United States Postal Service, detainees in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, and essential defense contractors for national security.

“The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia simply do not have the resources available to support these priority vaccinations, due to the additional burden on local resources that this mission would require—especially when considering the amount of vaccine each state receives,” the local leaders wrote.

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Hogan, a Republican, Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wrote the letter to Norris Cochran, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Robert Fenton Jr., a senior official performing the duties of the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator.

The local leaders asked officials to open a federally supported and operated vaccine site for the workers qualified for the vaccine, and requested the doses come from a federal supply instead of the local allocation. They also asked for coordinated communications about vaccination efforts.

“We commit to working with you to identify a site that is easily accessible,” the leaders wrote. “We welcome the opportunity to support the Administration’s efforts to ensure the continuity of operations for the United States federal government.”

The vaccine rollout across Maryland has lagged behind and frustrated local leaders as they aren’t getting enough vaccine supplies to adequately vaccinate high-risk individuals and some essential workers who are eligible.

Maryland ranked 41st of 50 states and Washington, D.C., for the number of vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents, according to an analysis of data collated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It ranks 37th in the number of people fully vaccinated per 100,000 residents.

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