Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that the state will open at least six new mass vaccination sites by early February, as officials try to expand coronavirus vaccine distribution.
By Feb. 5, vaccinations are set to begin at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore Convention Center. M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore also will serve as a mass vaccination site later next month.
Additional sites on the Eastern Shore, in Southern Maryland and in the western panhandle are being planned.
In addition, select Safeway and Rite Aid pharmacies will start administering COVID-19 vaccines, starting next week. Pharmacies in Walmart, Giant and Martin’s stores already are providing the shots.
A total of 51 retail pharmacies will be providing vaccinations statewide, as of next week. The state also plans to work with pharmacies to establish mobile clinics in hard-to-reach areas.
However, Mr. Hogan warned that Maryland is still struggling to get enough vaccine doses to meet the high demand. The Republican governor said he is meeting with President Biden to discuss increasing state vaccine allocations.
“The truth is that this is not going to magically get better overnight,” he said Tuesday at a press conference. “The last 10 months have been really hard — this is much, much harder. So I ask all Marylanders to please be patient with the vaccination providers. They are all doing the best they can with very little resources. When is it your turn, be ready to get the vaccine.”
“As frustrating as this is to every single one of us, this will obviously be a much longer process than any of us would like, and it’s going to require a great deal of patience for many months,” Mr. Hogan said.
Maryland has extended eligibility to 2 million residents in its Phase 1 roll out, but it receives only about 10,000 doses per day from the federal government. To complete the first phase, the state needs a total of 4 million doses but has only about 110,000 first doses available.
“Overall, we will require 12 million to reach two doses for all Marylanders. And today, Maryland has only been allotted 5.8% of that amount,” Mr. Hogan said.
As of Tuesday, Maryland has administered 396,661 of the two-dose vaccines produced by drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna.
“It is anticipated that Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine efficacy data will be available in a few weeks, and shortly thereafter [it] will be submitted to the [Food and Drug Administration] for consideration,” said Dr. David Marcozzi of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The J&J vaccine is a single dose shot with less cold change storage requirements. So the authorization of this vaccine could be a game changer.”
In Virginia, questions have emerged about a discrepancy in its vaccine data. According to the Virginia Department of Health, 1,156,500 doses were distributed but only 569,040 have been administered, as of Tuesday.
Dr. Danny Avula, who leads Virginia’s vaccine effort, said last week that the gap between the distributed and administered doses exists because there are still thousands of vaccines to be given at long-term care facilities.
Additionally, there’s a bit of a data lag as officials are manually logging thousands of administered vaccines into the statewide database.
Mr. Northam is to provide an update about the vaccination efforts on Wednesday.
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