ANNAPOLIS, MD—As COVID-19 vaccination preparation moves forward across the country, Governor Larry Hogan today provided an update on Maryland’s plans to safely deliver and distribute effective vaccines.

“Our team at the Maryland Department of Health has worked hard over the past eight months preparing plans to procure, distribute, and administer COVID-19 vaccines when they become available,” said Governor Hogan. “This is, by far, the most massive undertaking of this pandemic. The calvary is coming, a vaccine is on the way, but it is absolutely critical that we continue to fight this virus with everything we’ve got, and we need to keep doing all the things that we know will help to keep us safe.”

PHASE 1A OF VACCINATION TO FOCUS ON CRITICAL HEALTH CARE WORKERS, LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES, FIRST RESPONDERS. During today’s presentation, Maryland health officials announced that the state’s initial vaccine allocations will go to critical health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, as well as first responders. The state has signed up all of the state’s 227 nursing homes and 1,668 assisted living facilities for the federal distribution partnership through CVS and Walgreens.

STATE OF MARYLAND TO RECEIVE 155,000 INITIAL VACCINE DOSES. The State of Maryland will receive 155,000 initial first doses of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines. The distribution could begin the week of December 14 for the Pfizer vaccine, and the week of December 21 for the Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -80°C, and the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at -20°C.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS EXPAND PROVIDERS’ ABILITY TO ADMINISTER VACCINES. State health officials issued an emergency order that expands the scope of practice so that any licensed healthcare provider—including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and pharmacists—can administer the COVID-19 vaccine with appropriate training and supervision. The order reiterates that healthcare providers who already have the statutory authority to administer vaccines can administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Since some COVID-19 vaccines require dilution before being administered, the order also authorizes licensed healthcare providers to prepare the vaccine after receiving training. Read the order.

GOVERNOR AND LT. GOVERNOR WILL BE VACCINATED PUBLICLY. Governor Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford will receive the COVID-19 vaccine publicly as soon as one becomes available to them.

STATEWIDE VACCINE CONFIDENCE CAMPAIGN. Governor Hogan will lead an aggressive statewide public outreach campaign to encourage Marylanders to get vaccinated. The campaign will collaborate with trusted community partners and utilize targeted outreach to address vaccine hesitancy, including among minority populations. 

IMMUNET. The state stores vaccination records through ImmuNet, which serves as the cornerstone of Maryland’s immunization information system. Providers will use ImmuNet to place vaccine orders. This HIPAA-compliant system has been used in Maryland for over 15 years and has been enhanced to handle the additional information anticipated with COVID-19 vaccinations. Marylanders can access their own vaccination records at MD.MyIR.net.

ADDITIONAL COVID-19 UPDATES. In addition to today’s presentation on vaccines, the governor provided an update on a number of state initiatives to battle the COVID-19 surge:

  • Critical Care Coordination Center. Last week, the state activated its Critical Care Coordination Center to make it easier to shift patients between hospitals to ensure that they get the care they need. The center has already helped place, 38 patients, among 18 different hospitals across the state.
  • Medical Staffing Surge. As part of a medical staffing surge, 4,268 prospects have already signed up through MarylandMedNow to work at state hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites, and vaccination clinics.
  • MD COVID Alert. Governor Hogan announced that 1,223,000 Marylanders have subscribed to MD COVID Alert, the state’s contact tracing app—giving Maryland one of the highest adoption rates in the nation.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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