ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland announced Tuesday its two-phase distribution plan for a coronavirus vaccine once it is available.
The plan is just a draft and no official coronavirus vaccine has been approved by regulators at this time, but health officials said they’re already thinking ahead.
“In anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine, Maryland stands ready to order, distribute and administer it effectively and rapidly as soon as a vaccine becomes available,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “The State of Maryland’s plan for this historic undertaking will immediately make the vaccine available to Marylanders at highest risk of developing complications from COVID-19 as well as our critical frontline healthcare workers and essential workers in public safety and education.”
Phase 1 will focus on priority groups to get the vaccination first, such as frontline first responders, healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients or staff and residents of nursing homes.
Patients and staff of assisted living facilities, essential workers in public safety and education and staff in congregate living facilities are also included in Phase 1.
Phase 2 will then focus on the rest of the population, the governor said in a press release.
Kurt Seeto, with the Maryland Department of Health, said it’s a plan leaders and officials been working on since April.
“We had to make sure we had a plan that would be able to vaccinate all of Maryland who wants to be vaccinated,” Seeto said.
Health officials will move to Phase 2 based on the availability of the vaccine, CDC and state authority approval that there is sufficient supply and achieving the targeted metrics for vaccinating high priority Phase 1 groups.
The draft, based on information from the CDC, lists a number of components that go into making it a smooth process, like recruiting providers, inventory management, storage of the vaccine and safety monitoring.
But some are calling the plan into question.
Michael Greenberger, with the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security, said it won’t be easy to store and distribute the vaccine to everyone who wants it.
“It’s complicated by the fact that individuals will need two deliveries and there needs to be money to support all of this,” he said.
The Maryland Department of Health said although there is not a vaccine available just yet, they wanted to be as transparent as possible with the public about their plan.