Following weeks of criticism over the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccination program, Maryland’s top health official said Monday that the state’s vaccination program has expanded, and the pace of vaccinations has increased.
“We’ve administered nearly 1.6 million vaccines and our seven-day average is more than 36,000 per day, and in just one month that’s jumped 70%,” said Dennis Schrader, the state’s acting health secretary.
Schrader told the Maryland Senate Vaccine Oversight Workgroup that vaccinations are nearly complete in all long-term care facilities in the state, and 50% of the eligible population have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the first hospital workers were vaccinated last December.
But the demand for vaccine continues to outrun supply, leading eligible Marylanders on a scrambling journey to secure their first dose.
“The data continues to bear out that vaccine-hunting is very much still the case, so people are traveling to wherever they can get the vaccine,” said Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, whose district includes parts of Baltimore. Ferguson is the chairman of the Vaccine Oversight Workgroup. He acknowledged the improvement in the Hogan administration’s vaccine efforts.
“So there is no doubt things are moving much more quickly, and that is very good for everyone,” Ferguson said.
The state has opened four mass vaccination sites, with two more coming in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Schrader said counting local health departments, pharmacies, clinics and other places where the COVID-19 vaccine is administered, there are 418 vaccination sites in the state.
Schrader also said that the state’s preregistry, which will encompass all state vaccination sites, is expected to launch in mid-March, giving eligible residents a more expansive platform to search for the vaccine.
While Maryland has boosted its daily rate of vaccinations to the 16th-highest in the nation, it continues to lag other states in promptly administering the doses that it receives from the federal government, ranking it 30th among states, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data provided by the state.
Schrader said that there’s been a general uptick in the volume of delivery of the Pfizer vaccine, with the state expecting 128,000 doses this week.
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