BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott is asking Johnson & Johnson to sell 300,000 of its vaccine doses directly to the City as soon as they are approved by the FDA.

In a letter to Johnson & Johnson’s CEO, the mayor said should the City be able to buy the doses, he will establish a subcommittee of the City’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force with Johnson & Johnson representatives included as well as City health department officials and community leaders.

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Scott said they will then create a way to distribute the doses in a way that is “focused on efficient and accessible vaccination strategies that puts equity and harm reduction at the forefront of all policy, planning and operations.”

The partnership would have Baltimore pay Johnson & Johnson an undisclosed sum, which would require federal approval, Scott said. The vaccine is being produced in Gaithersburg at Emergent BioSolutions and the mayor referenced the company’s manufacturing of the vaccine in Baltimore City.

“As such, I will request that the federal government make an exception for Johnson & Johnson to sell doses directly to the City of Baltimore,” Scott wrote.

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He asked in the letter for the company to identify someone at the manufacturer someone from the mayor’s office can work with to deal with any legal or logistical issues.

The mayor spoke on the lack of supply in the city. As of Monday, 44,000 first doses have been administered in Baltimore.

“Unfortunately, due to the prioritization dictated to us by the state and the extraordinarily low supply provided to the City, only 3.4% of the city’s Black residents have received their first dose of the vaccine- that is unacceptable,” he said.  “Of those doses that have been delivered by healthcare providers in Baltimore, less than 20% have been distributed to the City’s Health Department, giving the City very limited ability to improve these disparities.”

During a press conference Monday, Scott said he’s hopeful.

“This is about doing what’s right and what’s needed for the city,” Scott said, “and we’re just very hopeful that Johnson & Johnson will realize where we are right now, where we are as a country, as a city, and do something that will benefit a city, in which they are producing a vaccine.”

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Gov. Larry Hogan said in response Monday it’s up to the federal government to process the vaccines.

“I think it’s a nice try. I mean everybody would like a jump to the front of the line, but it’s not going to happen,” the governor said. “Neither the states nor the local governments or anyone else or any other countries are going to get around the process. The federal government is going to do that directly.”

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