Maryland moved into Phase 1C of its coronavirus vaccine distribution plan Monday, beginning ahead of schedule to avoid wasting unused doses.

The latest phase, which previously wasn’t due to start until March, includes adults aged 65-74, public health and safety workers, front-line workers such U.S. Postal Service employees and those who work in grocery stores, food production and manufacturing.

Gov. Larry Hogan said counties can choose whether or not to go into Phase 1C as long as older adults and those most susceptible have priority, Baltimore’s WJZ-TV reported.

Officials in Anne Arundel and Howard County say they will stay in their present phase until they are certain they have enough doses to cover the targeted populations, WJZ reported. Plans are underway to open mass vaccination sites.

As of Tuesday, approximately 397,000 vaccine doses had been administered of the 667,000 distributed statewide, according to health department statistics.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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