State Anticipates Every Hospital Will Get COVID-19 Vaccine Over Next Two Weeks

Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan and Gov. Larry Hogan. Via Office of the Governor’s Flickr.

State officials anticipate that every Maryland hospital will receive COVID-19 vaccine doses over the next two weeks.

The FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine last Friday, and distribution is underway. This week, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center and Adventist Health Care White Oak Medical Center are expected to receive 975 doses each. MedStar Health, which includes Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, is also preparing to receive doses this week and has purchased several ultra-cold freezers to store them.

Dr. Jinlene Chan, Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, has previously said the state will get about 155,000 initial doses of the vaccine total from Pfizer and Moderna; about 50,000 and 104,000 respectively. During a press conference with Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday, she said she expects Moderna’s vaccine approval to follow a timeline similar to Pfizer’s. On Thursday, an FDA committee is scheduled to make a recommendation for approval or disapproval of Moderna’s vaccine candidate, and the state anticipates the FDA could grant emergency use as early as Friday, with distribution beginning next week. She said every hospital in the state will get some of the initial 155,000 allocation.

The state plans to put out a new COVID-19 dashboard for vaccine information including the number of vaccines administered, and that number broken down by county, age, race and other demographic information.

The vaccine priority phases in Maryland are as follows:

Group 1A: Healthcare workers, long-term care facilities residents and staff, first responders
Group 1B: People at significantly higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness (ex: chronic illness)
Group 2: People in critical, essential infrastructure roles (education, transit, utility), people at moderately higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness
Group 3: General population

During Tuesday’s press conference, Dr. David Marcozzi, COVID-19 Incident Commander for the University of Maryland Medical System, emphasized that there is no way to contract COVID-19 from the Pfizer vaccine. He said the CDC currently only recommends the vaccine for people ages 16 and older. Chan said clinical trials will be conducted for children under 16 to determine efficacy.

Hogan said he is reactivating the Maryland National Guard to help with vaccine distribution. They will provide logistical support to state health officials and as more doses come in, the Guard will help set up mobile vaccination clinics, the governor said. They will also help rapid response teams address outbreaks at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes.

1,799 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the state as of Tuesday, which Hogan said is Maryland’s highest total ever during the pandemic. He said 88% of staffed acute and ICU beds are currently occupied and 13 hospitals have reached at least 90% capacity for acute and ICU beds.

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About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. She can be reached at mshahzad@mymcmedia.org or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.

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