Hogan’s vaccine victory lap in Prince George’s Co. marked by criticism over equity

As Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks celebrated the opening of a mass vaccination site operated by FEMA, they both faced criticism from the mayor of the city where the site is located.

Referring to the FEMA-run site that could handle 3,000 vaccinations a day, Hogan proclaimed it “an exciting day, a beautiful day here in Prince George’s County.

But when Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd spoke, he responded to Hogan’s equity plan, saying that “the state has chosen, on many occasions, to scapegoat people of color across the state as people who simply do not want the vaccine. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Byrd said that people of color “have had heartbreaking difficulty getting vaccine,” and he blamed what he called “the state’s extremely inequitable rollout.”

Byrd’s criticisms weren’t limited to Hogan. He also singled out Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks for opening schools, even as teachers voiced concerns about the coronavirus.

Hogan, who was due to visit the mass vaccination site in neighboring Montgomery County, urged Byrd to, “Wrap it up.”

“I’ll wrap it up in a second Mr. Governor. You’re in my city, sir,” Byrd said.

The mic then appeared to cut out.

Hogan said that he disagreed with “every word” of what Byrd said, when asked to comment.

“We’re 15th in the nation in the rate of vaccinations. I think it denigrates the incredible partnership we’ve had with Prince George’s County,” Hogan said. “I can tell you the mayor has had nothing to do with our vaccine effort or this site and didn’t have any idea what he was talking about.”

Reporters also asked Alsobrooks for a response to the concerns mentioned by Byrd.

“It does not take talent to spot a problem. I want to just say that. It does not take very much talent to spot what’s wrong. It takes much more talent to fix it. And we’re here today to fix it,” Alsobrooks said.

Later on Wednesday, Hogan announced that walk-up vaccinations would be available at M&T Stadium in Baltimore on a limited basis starting Friday.

Walk-ups have been available at the state’s mass vaccination sites in Salisbury on the Eastern Shore and in Hagerstown in Western Maryland. While some people might prefer that option, Hogan urged them to preregister, noting that the walk-up options are limited and a wait could not be ruled out.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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