Maryland secretary of health answers pressing vaccine rollout questions

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — The Maryland Senate’s Vaccine Oversight Workgroup met to discuss the current state of coronavirus vaccine distribution on Monday. During the meeting, senators were able to question vaccine officials about the current logistics of vaccine rollout.

For many residents, one of the most distressing aspects of the search for a COVID-19 vaccine has been the sign-up process. Unlike the neighboring state of West Virginia, Marylanders have been encouraged to preregister on multiple waiting lists and cancel those extra registrations once they secure an appointment. But officials said this is the best way to run the state.

“There is a very high risk of creating one website that fails and then the whole system collapses,” said Dennis Schrader, Maryland’s acting secretary of health. “The way it’s set up now, we are getting doses into arms.”

Senators also had concerns about the lack of vaccine accessibility over the weekends for individuals who cannot get out of work. For now, the mass vaccine sites and pharmacies are being pushed as a solution.

“Six Flags is gonna be open seven days a week,” said Schrader. “We need to push doses into pharmacies [as well] because they’re open seven days a week.”

However, the mass vaccination sites seemed to create another problem for the senators- diminished local supply. However, Schrader said the federal government’s increased weekly allocation to the state (from 72,000 doses per week to around 88,000) should be enough extra doses to cover the venues.

“Then we will still have our allocation with our local health departments and hospitals and federally-qualified health centers to target the difficult to reach population.”

Schrader also said another mass vaccination site is not likely to be opened in Montgomery County, as residents seem to have demonstrated an ability and willingness to travel to the six flags in Prince George’s County.

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