As the state of Maryland’s vaccination distribution continues to lag behind other states, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that the state will develop at least six new mass vaccination sites across the state — including a site at Six Flags in Bowie.
The state ranks 40th out of all states and the District of Columbia in terms of vaccines administered per state population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The greatest obstacle to vaccinating more Marylanders has been the limited supply from the federal government, Hogan said. Though the state has been administering around 18,000 vaccine doses a day — with some of the supply coming from initially unused doses — the state is only receiving around 10,000 doses each day, Hogan said. The governor said he would be meeting with the Biden administration and other governors across the country after Tuesday’s press conference to discuss increasing vaccine production.
“This will obviously be a much longer process than any of us would like,” he said.
In addition to the site at Six Flags, other new vaccination distribution sites will include M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and the Baltimore City Convention Center, Hogan said.
Although Prince George’s County recently restricted its vaccine appointments to people who live and work in the county, the mass vaccination sites will be open to anyone in the state, Hogan said.
“As soon as the state receives higher allocations from the federal government, our infrastructure will already be in place, and we will be able to quickly expand well beyond these pilot programs to include much higher volumes, more and more pharmacies and many more locations across the state,” Hogan said.
In addition to more than 100 sites around the state already administering the vaccine, private pharmacies — including 16 Safeway and Rite Aid locations — will begin administering the vaccine next week, Hogan said. More than 20 Giant grocery stores throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties are administering the vaccine this week.
Nearly 40 hospitals have also agreed to open vaccination clinics for the public, Hogan said.
To aid in vaccination efforts, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a request from the state for $219 million to support the state’s vaccination program, Hogan said. The state is using data and modeling to prioritize vaccinations in underserved areas, Hogan said, which includes the creation of mobile clinics in partnership with Rite Aid.
Hogan said he was hopeful the COVID-19 vaccine created by Johnson & Johnson will soon be given similar authorization already provided to Pfizer and Moderna to increase vaccine supplies. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would be made in the state, Hogan said.
“No one is more frustrated than I am,” he added. “And no one is more eager to get this pandemic behind us than I am.”