ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — After initial doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine arrived in Maryland on Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan laid out what will come next for the first group of vaccinations.
Officials said every Maryland hospital and nursing home should get doses of the vaccine in the next two weeks.
As he said last week, the state’s first focus is frontline healthcare workers, long-term care residents and staff and first responders. This group is considered priority group 1A.
The initial doses allocated for frontline healthcare workers will go directly to hospitals from the federal government, based on Maryland Hospital Association data.
The first batch is limited, officials said, with 155,000 initial doses dedicated to frontline healthcare workers and long term care.
Acting Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services for Maryland Department of Health Dr. Jinlene Chan laid out what the state’s next steps will be for the first priority group.
- Coronavirus Resources: How To Get Help In Maryland
- TIMELINE: Coronavirus In Maryland, Tracking The Spread
- Latest coronavirus stories from WJZ
- Latest CDC Guidelines
Dr. Chan said they anticipate every hospital to receive the first doses within the next two weeks.
The state said they signed up every nursing home in Maryland to be a part of the Federal Long Term Facility Program, which was activated on December 8. CVS and Walgreens are scheduling clinics at each nursing home to begin vaccinations as soon as possible.
Dr. Chan predicted that the program will begin in the next two weeks. There are active cases at 189 nursing homes and at 142 assisted living facilities.
Maryland is also setting aside doses for local health departments to vaccinate first responders. The clinics for EMS, firefighters and law enforcement may start within the next two weeks.
The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in people who are 16 or older. The state also said trials are now underway for groups that are not currently approved for use. This includes children and pregnant women.
- COVID LATEST: New Online Dashboard Will Show How Many Vaccines Distributed In Maryland
- COVID-19 Latest: Maryland National Guard To Assist With Vaccination Efforts Across State
- What’s In The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine?
- Should You Get The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine If You Have Severe Allergies?
- Maryland Completes Utilization Of 500K Korean LabGenomics Tests, Gov. Hogan Says
When taking the vaccine, people should expect some soreness at the injection site, tiredness and a headache.
Dr. David Marcozzi, senior medical advisor to Gov. Hogan, said while the vaccine is on the horizon for many people this pandemic is not over.
He reminded people that family gatherings over the holidays should be limited to household contacts.
State School Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon had asked earlier Tuesday that teachers and school staff be added to the priority list for the vaccine.
“It is essential that we return to full or hybrid instructional models for the overall wellbeing and success of our prekindergarten through grade 12 students. Prolonged school closures have resulted in our children experiencing diminished academic achievement and social-emotional distress,” she wrote.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski has also pushed for teachers to be prioritized for vaccinations.
“One of the best ways that we can ensure getting our kids back into school quickly and safely is putting educators as priorities. I know there are a lot of competing priorities for vaccinations, but I think it’s really critical that we support them,” Olszewski told WJZ.
Most Maryland students haven’t set foot in a classroom since March. Our kids need to be in classrooms, face-to-face with their teachers – that’s why I’m asking Governor Hogan to include educators in the priority groups to receive vaccinations. pic.twitter.com/MFQVUMqkml
— County Executive Johnny Olszewski (@BaltCoExec) December 15, 2020
Asked about the issue, Hogan said educators would be given priority over the general public.
“Educators and school staff are in a priority group. They’re in the second phase, and that’s already an approved plan by the CDC,” Hogan said.