ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that the state will be “immediately” ready to administer coronavirus vaccines to children ages 5 to 11 once they are eligible.
The governor said during a press briefing at the State House that representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to announce next week when the state’s 515,000 children are authorized to receive a shot in the arm.
Hogan said state officials have begun placing orders for an initial 180,000 Pfizer doses for children in partnership with pediatricians, pharmacies and local health departments.
“There will be a wide range of options for getting children vaccinated and we will be providing additional updates to make sure that parents have all the information they need,” he said.
Dr. Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s deputy health secretary, said state officials have worked on a plan with school superintendents and representatives from Maryland chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The plan is to administer doses at pediatrician and doctor’s offices, health centers and possibly school-based clinics.
Chan said the state’s Equity Task Force will also assist parents without a primary care physician.
“We are trying to meet people where they are,” she said.
In regard to the single-dose booster shots, Hogan said the state has administered 280,000 booster shots manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech.
With the CDC’s recent approval of booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, nearly 1.4 million Marylanders are now authorized to receive another shot.
Those eligible for a booster, according to Hogan:
• Those 18 and older who received either of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, six months after the second shot.
• Residents 18 and older who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, two months after the shot.
• Residents 18 and older with underlying conditions or live or work in “high-risk settings.”
Based on CDC guidelines, Hogan said Marylanders can choose any vaccine for a booster shot no matter which one they previously received.
“We have both the supply and the capacity to provide a booster shot to anyone who needs one,” he said.
To determine eligibility, residents can log on to https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine#BoosterEligibility or call 855-MD-GOVAX.
The state has so far administered more than 8.3 million doses with nearly 85% of the state’s population having received at least one dose. However, about 780,000 Marylanders remain unvaccinated.
As of Monday, 609 people in the state are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the coronavirus, while 512 new coronavirus cases were reported in the most recent 24-hour period.
“The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are working extremely well and remain the most effective tool in our fight against this pandemic,” said Health Secretary Dennis Schrader. “These vaccines have demonstrated their ability to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and drastically reduce your chances of dying from COVID-19.”