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All Marylanders 16 and older can receive a coronavirus vaccine at any state mass vaccination site starting Tuesday morning, Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a press conference Monday.
By April 12, all vaccine providers in the state will be required to distribute the vaccine to Marylanders 16 and older. Individuals who became eligible for the vaccine in phases one and two will be prioritized for appointments, Hogan said.
The state previously announced that all Marylanders 16 and older will be eligible for a vaccine no later than April 27.
Marylanders who are 16 and 17 will need to receive a vaccine from clinics distributing the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only coronavirus vaccine that is FDA-approved for those ages, Hogan added.
“We want to emphasize that the best way to guarantee a vaccine and to get through the sites faster is still to pre-register and secure an appointment,” he said.
Marylanders can pre-register at http://covidvax.maryland.gov/ or by calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
The state is also opening seven more mass vaccination sites this month, including one at the Greenbelt Metro Station that FEMA is running, Hogan said.
The governor also said vaccinations are now available at 481 pharmacies across the state. Pharmacies are receiving additional supplies from the federal government and should be able to accommodate an increasing number of appointments, Hogan said.
The announcement effectively means Maryland will be jumping straight into the final phase of its vaccination plan, but it doesn’t necessarily mean eligible Marylanders will be able to get a vaccine immediately, Hogan said.
“I want to stress that even though we’re opening up eligibility for everyone that does not mean that everyone will be able to immediately get an appointment. But with the supply of doses increasing over the next month or so, a vaccine should be available for everyone who wants one,” Hogan said.
Maryland is in “better shape” than much of the country, Hogan said, citing “slightly” downward trends in the state’s cases and positivity rates. But he cautioned that nearby states are faring worse, and coronavirus variants are contributing to an increasing number of new infections and hospitalizations nationwide.
“Getting more people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can is our absolute best defense against these variants, and it’s the best way we can win this long war against this deadly virus,” he said.