COLUMBIA (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan is trying to convince younger people to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
On Thursday, he got a firsthand look at the Mall in Columbia mass vaccination site at the old Lord & Taylor store. He told reporters many Marylanders in their 20s and 30s feel they are not vulnerable to the virus and still need to get vaccinated.READ MORE: Fewer Blue Crabs In The Chesapeake Bay "Continue A Worrying Trend"
“20s and 30s is where our weak spot is. People are just like, ‘I don’t think I need it. I’m strong and healthy.’ Let me tell you, we have strong, young, healthy people being hospitalized every day even with our improving numbers. These variants are still deadly. They’re impacting younger people,” Hogan said. “The people who think they don’t need it are wrong. They need to come out and get vaccinated,” he said.
Today I toured the mass vaccination site in Howard County, located at The Mall in Columbia, which has the capacity to administer up to 3,000 vaccines per day. All eligible Marylanders can now get vaccinated without an appointment at any of the state’s 13 mass vaccination sites. pic.twitter.com/R85cj7FDK5
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 6, 2021
Kevin Johnson, 20, was vaccinated at the mall as the governor wrapped up his visit. Johnson said he had no hesitation about getting the shot and others his age should get it too.
“I’m looking forward to the future where we’ll be able to do stuff like go to concerts or just be together without masks again,” Johnson said.
The statewide positivity rate is now 3.66%.
— Maryland Department of Health (@MDHealthDept) May 6, 2021
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball called the mall site “perfectly positioned between Baltimore and the DC suburbs.”
The Mass Vaccination site at the Mall in Columbia is a great milestone and tool in our fight to end this pandemic. We know that this central location between the Baltimore and Washington suburbs will be convenient for many people in our community. pic.twitter.com/LBd3S5dTTM
— Calvin Ball (@HoCoGovExec) May 6, 2021
The state stopped requiring appointments at all mass vaccination sites this week and saw almost 1,000 walk-ins on the first day of that change.
Maryland also has surpassed 5 million total vaccinations.READ MORE: ‘We Don’t Have To Accept This’ Calls For Action After Texas School Massacre As Shootings Rise In Baltimore, Nationwide
Hogan said eventually the state’s 13 mass vaccination sites will wind down operations.
“The need for the big ones is not going to go on forever, but we’re going to keep them open as long as we still have some customers,” he said.
He also said – at this point – the state was not going to provide any other financial incentives to get the shots beyond $100 payments to state employees, but he still encourages private businesses to do so.
Hogan also announced Project Bounce Back at a Boys and Girls Club in West Baltimore. $25 million would go to help children recover from the pandemic, including 6 regional crisis teams that would help children with counseling and other assistance, he said.
The governor is announcing Project Bounce Back, a $25 million public-private partnership to help Maryland youth recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: https://t.co/qbHNEwv1Va
— Michael Ricci (@riccimike) May 6, 2021
The state is also partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs statewide to assist with after-school programs and support.
The Hogan administration anticipates vaccines will soon be approved for children 12 and older. State Schools Superintendent Karen Salmon demanded students return to the classroom in person as quickly as possible.
“Many students who once excelled are now failing. Children are overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. The most immediate, ready solution to protect children—as the governor said—is to return them to schools for full, in-person learning as soon as possible,” she said.
She stressed only 43% of Maryland’s pre-K through 12th-grade students have received any in-person instruction this year.MORE NEWS: Security Increases After Maryland Man Threatens Gale-Bailey Elementary School
“Sadly, too many students have yet to access a normal classroom learning experience,” Salmon said.