ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday a coronavirus vaccine schedule that would make all state residents eligible for a shot in the arm by April 27.
The first group, Phase 2A, starting Tuesday, will be for those ages 60 and older, who will be able to preregister for appointments at one of the state’s five mass-vaccinations sites. A sixth one will open in Hagerstown next Thursday.
Phase 2B will give eligibility to Marylanders 16 and older with medical conditions and severe illnesses on March 30.
April 13 marks the eligibility point for those in Phase 2C who are 55 and older. Workers in this group include those in the utility, transportation and infrastructure fields.
Two weeks later on April 27, all Marylanders ages 16 and older become eligible to receive a vaccine.
As of Thursday, more than two million Marylanders have been vaccinated. Nearly 741,000 people have been fully vaccinated with either two doses from Moderna or Pfizer or the one dose from Johnson & Johnson.
An estimated two million Marylanders are eligible in the current first phase divided into three parts.
“We have built the infrastructure capacity and we’re being promised the increased supply to be able to vaccinate every Marylander in the next couple of months,” Hogan said. “I can assure you that [Assistant Health] Secretary Dennis Schrader and I, and our entire team, will not rest until every single Marylander who wants a vaccine has received a vaccine. Getting vaccinated is absolutely vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19 so that we can return to normal life once again.”
Hogan said the state expects to receive a “dramatic increase” in vaccines from the federal government on about March 29. During a conference call this week with White House officials and other governors, he said the White House didn’t provide an exact number on how many vaccines each state would receive.
To help administer shots and reach people where confirmed coronavirus cases are the highest, local churches are partnering with health care providers to vaccinate residents.
Hogan toured a community clinic Tuesday in Prince George’s County at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro with a goal to administer up to 1,000 doses.
Hogan announced mobile vaccination units will be deployed in rural areas of the state staffed by the Maryland National Guard. The first one will be on the road Friday on the Eastern Shore.
Meanwhile, the state began a pilot program Thursday with 37 health care providers to help administer the vaccine with a focus on demographic and geographic equity. The providers include county health departments, hospitals, primary care physicians and pharmacies.
Howard Haft, executive director of the Maryland Primary Care Program, said community providers provide a special relationship with their patients and address issues of vaccine hesitancy.
“They’re in the communities,” he said. “They have the ability to directly reach out to their patients in an equitable way and identify those who are in most need.”
People can pre-register for an appointment at a mass vaccination site at covidvax.maryland.gov or by calling 1-855-634-6829.