Maryland is going to be around 250,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses short of what was expected over the next three weeks due to a mix up at a production plant in Baltimore that resulted in the loss of around 15 million doses of the vaccine last week.
Gov. Larry Hogan said they were initially told by members of President Joe Biden’s administration that there would not be much disruption in the vaccine supply, but that has since been walked back.
“They were telling us as late as multiple times last week — everybody at the White House, Dr. Fauci, everybody in the supply chain — saying there was gonna be no disruption,” Hogan said. “And then all of a sudden they go, ‘Whoops, you’re going to be 250,000 short for the next three weeks.”
Hogan said he still isn’t entirely sure what the issue was at the Emergent BioSolutions plant that led to the loss of doses, but that he remains hopeful that the Novavax vaccine will soon be approved for use in the U.S. to help make up for the shortfall.
The governor said he gave the Biden administration credit for communicating problems with them, even when it wasn’t easy news to share.
“The head of the Coronavirus Task Force … called me on Easter Sunday to talk about how to work together on problems, to give us a heads up on things that were happening; we have a meeting every week with their staff with all the governors,” Hogan said. “I think it just caught them all by surprise, internally, I’m not sure they even know the answers to what the problem is — so I’m just gonna give them the benefit of the doubt that it’ll get fixed.”
Hogan said the state’s vaccine infrastructure was working well and was ready to deliver around 100,000 doses per day once the supply ramps up.
Earlier Friday, Hogan said that for the first time, the state surpassed 80,000 vaccinations in a single day.
Hogan forms new Asian-American hate crimes work group
Hogan also announced Friday the assembly of a working group focused on combatting hate crimes against the Asian-American community in Maryland.
The governor said that hate crimes against Asian-Americans in Maryland have nearly doubled since 2018.
“Our Asian-American community is facing challenges worse than we’ve seen in decades, and I’ve been calling on more leaders across the country to speak out against this threat the way that my wife has,” Hogan said. “I am very proud of the First Lady’s courage and passion in condemning the attacks against our Asian-America community.”
Former chief federal law enforcement officer for the District of Maryland, Robert Hur, has been appointed to lead the work group.
“As an Asian-American, I am so grateful for Gov. Hogan and the First Lady for focusing attention on the important issues of bias and violence against members of the Asian-American communities in our nation,” Hur said.
Hur said that the rise of bias and violent crimes directed toward Asian Americans has left him feeling concerned for his family members.
“That is a fear that no one should have to have,” Hur said.
The other members of the group have yet to be chosen, but Hogan said they would be selected from across various disciplines.
The group is tasked with developing strategies and recommendations to address the rise in bias and hate crimes against the Asian-American community.
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