ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Maryland’s lieutenant governor says the state could get a small amount of a coronavirus vaccine as soon as mid-December.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford made the announcement Wednesday at the start of a Board of Public Works meeting.

“We’re expecting that probably as early as mid-December that we could start seeing the first shipments coming in,” he said.

Rutherford says health care workers will get the vaccine first. After that, workers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be a priority.

The Republican emphasized that not everyone will be able to get the vaccine at first. However, he says when the general public can get vaccinated, people should.

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“Everyone needs to get it when it’s available,” Rutherford said. “I know that there are people out there that are — and this started before COVID — that there are people who don’t like vaccines… we have to get past that.”

He says a vaccine might not be available to the general public until the spring, “if we’re fortunate.”

Loyola University Maryland associate professor of biology and immunologist Dr. Chris Thompson spoke to WJZ about some of the hurdles getting everyone vaccinated.

“It’s two doses so that’s going to be challenging. We don’t know the length of protection after you receive the two doses so that could be challenging,” Dr. Thompson said. “How do you pick and choose between which front line workers get it and which ones don’t? That’s going to be a lot to figure out, but it’s a huge light at the end of the tunnel. We have a vaccine that we will be able to use and hopefully move toward some sense of normalcy in the next year or so.”

 

Maryland’s acting health secretary could not say how much the state was spending on distribution. Dr. Thompson stressed it will be critical for everyone to get vaccinated.

 

“That’s my biggest concern about the vaccine is compliance. The last data I saw suggested between 40 and 50 percent of people are planning on getting the vaccine. That’s nowhere near enough to knock this virus down. We need at least 60 percent, more like 70 percent of people to get vaccinated in order to again move back to some semblance of normalcy,” Dr. Thompson said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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