BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some local officials are frustrated by the state’s patchwork vaccine system where people are signing up for a shot on multiple waiting lists at once.

Maryland’s Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader told a Maryland Senate committee this week that people should get on multiple waiting lists, and once you they get an appointment, remove themselves from the remaining lists.

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“We don’t really want the Hunger Games going on to try to get an appointment,” said Senator Dr. Clarence Lam, a Howard and Baltimore County Democrat.

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Eastern Shore Republican Senator Addie Eckardt called the vaccine situation “survival of the fittest.”

Senator Lam asked, “Why do Marylanders need to go to the Walgreens website, the CVS website, the Giant website, the Hopkins website, the UMMS website?”

The state has defended the practice of multiple vaccination websites. “As we look at other states, there is a very high risk of creating one website that fails, and then the whole system collapses,” said Acting Secretary Schrader.

“I just want to apologize to everyone who is out there doing vaccine surfing. It’s not easy. It’s very time consuming when so many providers have so many different sites,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman Tuesday.

Many local health departments are receiving fewer doses than they got initially.

In Anne Arundel County, the health officer says the state so far has failed to deliver 7,000 Pfizer second doses over the past two weeks—leading them to cancel and try to reschedule more than 1,374 appointments.

 

The Anne Arundel County Executive spoke at a virtual press conference Tuesday while he is under quarantine after possibly being exposed to COVID—19. He tested negative Monday and expects to be out of quarantine this week.

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This state is advising providers to hold back supply to make sure there is enough for people to get their second doses.

Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said the CDC recommends getting the second shot within six weeks. “So we’re still well within the window. Nobody’s at any danger of this being any less effective,” he said.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren reports Anne Arundel County officials said they have no plans to buy their own vaccines, unlike Baltimore City’s Mayor Brandon Scott. Scott is proposing a deal with Johnson & Johnson for 300,000 doses of their one-shot vaccine that is being produced at a facility in Baltimore’s Bayview neighborhood.

 

Some state lawmakers are also upset that people are cheating the system and—they claim—are able to get shots when they’re not eligible.

“All the 92-year-olds who I know who were on the list lined up to go to the health department are still waiting on the list…because their [allotted vaccines] have been reduced,” said Senator Addie Eckardt, “But anybody can go over to the Wal-Mart and get their vaccine. They’re not discriminating any of the tiers.” She added, “Folks are furious, absolutely furious in my jurisdiction because they believe they’re being shortchanged when they’ve been patiently waiting in line.”

Acting Health Secretary Schrader said providers can ask for documentation or make people sign affidavits that they are currently eligible for the vaccine. “In that case, it’s an honor system. We’re hoping to appeal to people’s sense of integrity. But if somebody shows up and they say they’re eligible and they have documentation, we’re going to want to put that shot in their arm. But if they sign the affidavit, we would also put that shot in their arm because we want to get people vaccinated.”

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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.