The leader of Maryland’s State Senate says he has confidence that the state can handle the execution of Gov. Larry Hogan’s new COVID-19 vaccine schedule based on increasing supply.
But State Senate President Bill Ferguson (D) expressed his concern during his weekly media availability about any possible unforeseen issues with supply forecasts.
“I’m hopeful that the governor will have some flexibility on that timeline, should supply not match the expectation,” Ferguson said.
This week, Hogan ramped up the eligibility schedule, which would include all people 16 and older no later than April 27.
Hogan is speeding up the schedule based on the federal government’s plan to significantly step up dose supply after March 29.
Prior to that, the state will begin to vaccinate residents 60 and older starting March 23.
A week after, the age range will be lowered to 16-and-up for people with high-risk medical conditions.
By April 13, residents 55 and older, along with other essential workers, will be allowed to seek out a vaccine appointment before the gates are fully flung open two weeks later.
“Now we’ll be able to really see if the system that’s been set up over the last 14 weeks has built up the capacity to distribute the increased number of vaccines as efficiently as possible,” Ferguson said. “It is the most important thing happening in the state right now.”
Ferguson also approves moving forward with more school re-openings.
“I’m very pleased that we are immersed in this phased return. I think the faster we get these vaccines out, the better it will be,” he said.
Hogan announced a pilot program that will allow dozens of primary care providers to receive doses, set up appointments with their patients and vaccinate people in their own offices, especially in Black and Hispanic communities that have access limitations and other areas that face barriers to obtaining and arriving for appointments.