BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Calling federal approval of COVID-19 booster shots “long overdue,” Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday said Maryland will make the shots available immediately to any residents who need them.

The state’s authorization follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for seniors, adults with underlying conditions and people who work in settings that place them at higher risk of infection.

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It also comes after Maryland gave the green light weeks three ago for residents ages 65 and up who live in nursing homes, assisted-living settings, and other long-term care facilities to get an additional dose of the vaccine. The state has administered over 50,000 booster shots since Sept. 8.

“While this action was long overdue, I am glad that the federal government has finally approved booster shots for seniors and high-risk individuals. It is a significant step toward providing additional protection for our most vulnerable residents, and supports the data-based decision we made earlier this month to move ahead on booster shots for seniors in congregate settings,” Gov. Hogan said.

Hogan said the state has mobilized a network of vaccination providers, from pharmacies to local health departments to mobile vaccination clinics.

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As part of that effort, vaccine providers have orders to give booster doses to eligible residents who got their second Pfizer shot six months ago. They’re also being asked to reach out to vaccinated residents to encourage them to get the booster shot.

“We have both the supply and capacity to provide a booster shot to anyone who needs one,” he said.

It’s unclear how the CDC recommendation will affect residents who received the Johnson & Johnson or Moderna shots rather than the Pfizer vaccine. Hogan said Maryland will keep applying pressure to the federal government to provide “clear guidance” for those individuals.

With uncertainty looming over those who received the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines, the governor said Maryland continues to apply pressure to the federal government

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“Lastly, I want to again thank the millions of Marylanders who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated,” Hogan said. “We have had one of the strongest health and economic recoveries in the nation by following the science and leading the way, which is exactly what we will continue to do.”

CBS Baltimore Staff