BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Providers across Maryland are administering an average of 27,000 coronavirus vaccine shots a day.

But senior citizens are struggling to sign up.

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As major metrics including the state’s positivity rate and hospitalizations are on the decline, the challenge now is getting the vaccine to everyone who wants one.

Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday hospitalizations dropped below 1,000 for the first time since mid-November.

While the seven-day statewide positivity rate is getting closer to below 4%, Hogan highlighted that the daily positivity rate is now at 2.5%- the lowest since mid-October.

“Things are getting better day by day,” said Dr. Jonathan Thierman, with LifeBridge Hospital.

Dr. Thierman said the key is to build up enough immunity in the population.

“We’re at about a 1.6 million a day getting vaccinated, but if we all took off the masks and started taking airplanes tomorrow then the disease would spread faster than we can vaccinate people,” Dr. Thierman said.

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Baltimore clergy and medical professionals got together Sunday to announce a new tool for senior citizens.

Anyone 80 and older can now call or text an unofficial COVID vaccine hotline. The number is 410-929-6024. Volunteers will help you sign up, secure an appointment and even coordinate travel.

“Our concept is to have a guide or a coach, so that they’re not talking to 10 different people,” said Dr. Daniel Howard, family physician.

The goal is also to address inequities in the distribution of vaccines. Only five percent of Black residents in Baltimore City have received a first dose.

Dr. Marvin Cheatham is with the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association.

“It’s not that we don’t have folks that are interested, we have folks that don’t have access to it. We want to bring access to it,” Dr. Cheatham said.

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Dr. Thierman said he’s noticed that vaccines supply to hospitals is starting to pick up. He’s hopeful that once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved there will be a huge uptick.

Rachel Menitoff