ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — The Calvary is coming, Gov. Hogan said Tuesday, and it’s in the form of a coronavirus vaccine.
The governor laid out Maryland’s plan to distribute the vaccine, breaking Marylanders into priority groups for who is essential to get it first. And those first groups could have the vaccine available to them as early as next Monday.
The two major candidates, Pfizer and Moderna, could arrive in Maryland as early as next week. If approved by the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine could arrive in Maryland as early as the week of December 14. Moderna doses could arrive in the week of December 22.
Nearly 40 Maryland companies have been working on coronavirus vaccine research and various therapeutic practices. The governor said the state’s vaccination plan was submitted to the CDC in October, and the state has committed an initial $10 million for supplies.
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The first shipments are extremely limited, state officials said, and will go to the highest-risk groups first.
So, who will get it first?
The plan is split into multiple priority groups. Phase 1A includes health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and first responders.
Phase 1B adds in people at “significantly higher risk” of severe coronavirus illness.
Phase 1A will have an anticipated 155,000 initial doses, with 50,700 doses coming from Pfizer and 104,300 from Moderna.
After these groups hit their targets, Phase 2 will allow people in critical and essential infrastructure roles and people at moderately higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness to get the vaccine.
I’m not a health care worker or work an essential job, will I be last to get it?
The last group is the general population, so unless you are a part of Phase 1A, 1B or 2 you will be in that last group.
“To be effective, these vaccines need to reach a vast majority of our population, and to do so in a relatively short period of time,” the governor said.
He said to do so, the Maryland Department of Health is issuing a new order that ensures any health care professional will be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines with appropriate training and supervision.
He warned, however, that while the Calvary is coming, it’s not over yet.
“While the delivery of vaccines is welcome news, I would caution Marylanders to remember that our initial allocation will only be 155,000 doses of the vaccine with the possibility of perhaps 300,000 by year’s end,” he said.
Where will these vaccines go?
Those allocations will be sent directly to health care providers, but the state did not give specific information on the allocation to each jurisdiction.
“Certainly, a number of people, it doesn’t make sense to give a Montgomery County or Baltimore County fewer doses than a county out in Western Maryland,” said Dr. Jinlene Chan, Deputy Health Secretary, Maryland Department of Health.
She said some of it will be dependent on the logistics involved, such as freezer storage and handling.
The state’s staffing surge has received “enthusiastic response,” in just the last week since it was announced. At this time, 4,258 prospects have signed up to work at hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites and vaccination clinics.
An additional 576 volunteers have joined from Maryland’s Response Medical Reserve Corps.
Dr. Chan said it is premature to require the vaccine in schoolchildren, as clinical trials are just beginning for children.
The governor said that they will not require the coronavirus vaccine but they will be encouraging everyone to take it.