Everyone in Maryland who is 16 or older will be eligible next week to get the coronavirus vaccine at any site offering shots in the state, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday.
And people 16 and older can get shots this week, starting Tuesday, at the state’s five mass vaccination sites. The state will require the hundreds of other vaccine providers in Maryland to offer shots to adults and older teenagers, a total of almost 4.9 million people, as of April 12.
Here’s what you need to know:
Who is going to be able to get vaccinated?
Anyone who is 16 or older is now eligible to get the vaccine.
Even with eligibility thrown wide-open to all adults and older teenagers, Hogan said high-risk people will still have priority. But he noted about three-quarters of Maryland’s senior population, which made up most of the severe cases and deaths early in the pandemic, have received at least one shot.
Why is Hogan moving eligibility forward?
Hogan said the move came after the White House told governors to expect shipments of vaccine doses to jump sharply at the end of March, helping ease a supply crunch that’s held back vaccination efforts nationwide.
After talking with White House officials, Hogan said, the state was expecting after March 29 a significant increase in the supply of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as a steady flow of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson immunizations.
Can someone under 16 sign up for the vaccine?
Federal regulators have not yet approved vaccines for children 15 or younger because initial clinical trials for the three vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S. did not include children among their volunteer test subjects.
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for 16- and 17-year-olds, while the vaccines from Moderna and J&J are approved for those 18 and older. Several studies are now evaluating the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in younger children.
Are there any new places I can get the vaccine?
In addition to existing mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, local health departments and other sites available, Hogan said primary care doctors will be tapped to help put shots into arms.
The mass vaccination clinic in Salisbury will no longer require people to schedule appointments in advance, Hogan said. Starting last Friday, the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center converted to a “walk-up” method of delivering shots. A vaccination site at the Premium Outlets in Hagerstown will accept walk-ups starting Tuesday. The site at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore will follow suit next week.
The Republican governor formally announced the location of several new state-run vaccination sites Thursday. They are:
- The Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium
- Greenbelt Metro Station in Prince George’s County, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Association
- Montgomery College in Germantown
- Frederick Community College
- Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis
- Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen
- The Mall in Columbia
Is there anything else being done to help administer vaccines?
Hogan said $12 million will be available in state grants to fund partnerships between hospitals and community groups to start neighborhood vaccination programs, as well as the launch of bus-based vaccine clinics to administer doses in hard-to-reach rural stretches of the state.
Are other states also expanding eligibility?
Yes. And in some cases, other states have moved more quickly to open vaccinations to the public, following the lead of Alaska and Mississippi, where all residents 16 and older are eligible for shots.