Maryland is speeding up its vaccination timeline, following the lead of other states and recommendations from federal officials as the U.S. surge of deaths and hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 worsens.
Statewide implementation has been slower than expected, raising and raised alarms among local leaders. As of Thursday, 178,415 people had been vaccinated in the state, with about 15,840 people receiving their second dose. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who announced plans to accelerate vaccine doses into more arms at a Thursday news conference in Annapolis, said older adults all will be eligible to get their shots in two weeks.
The Republican governor also provided updated vaccination guidelines and outlined when many Marylanders might expect to receive the vaccine.
Here’s what you need to know:
Are we still in Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout?
Yes, but it no longer has to be completely finished for the state to move on to other phases.
Phase 1A covers health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders, and public safety and corrections officers.
On Monday, Maryland will move into Phase 1B, Hogan said Thursday, 1B which will allow people 75 and older to get vaccinated along with high-risk inmates, teachers, people living in special needs group homes, assisted living residents, and and vaccines for people involved in “continuity of government.”
The last part of Phase 1 will commence on Jan. 25, for people ages 65-74 get vaccinated along with essential workers in lab services, agriculture, manufacturing, grocery stores, public transit and the postal service.
A limited number of pharmacies in Giant, Martin’s and Walmart stores will start offering the vaccine on Jan. 25 as part of a pilot program. More pharmacies are expected to come online as the vaccine supply expands.
“We want to stress to all the vaccination providers that as part of our, what we call a Southwest Airlines distribution model, they do not need to finish all of the people in one group before moving on to the next one. Our primary goal is for them to get more shots into the arms of more people in our vulnerable populations as quickly as they can,” Hogan said Thursday.
Maryland’s expedited timeline Maryland follows other states’ plans and recommendations from federal officials to get every available shot deployed as the U.S. surge of deaths and hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 worsens. Previously, states were holding back on administering a portion of vaccines so they could save them for second doses.
When will I get vaccinated if I don’t fall into those categories in Phase 1?
As of now, Phase 2 will include people 16-64 with increased health risks, prisoners and essential workers in fields such as utilities and transportation, but there is no timeline for when the state might begin the phase. A total of 1.1 million Marylanders are in this group.
Hogan said about 30% of the state will be vaccinated by May, but younger and healthier people could wait until the summer or after.
Maryland residents who think they are eligible can now enter their information into covidvax.maryland.gov to find vaccination clinics in their area.
How much of the vaccine has already been distributed?
Some 564,625 vaccines have been distributed to Maryland health officials and providers, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, about 32% have been administered.
People who think they are eligible can also visit the state’s new website and find the vaccine clinic nearest to them. To sign up, you’ll have to verify your information with the clinic, though it’s not immediately clear how rigorous that vetting process will be.