ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — Governor Hogan made a game-changing announcement during a press conference on Monday: Beginning on April 6, all Marylanders age 16 and up will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine at any of the state’s mass vaccination sites.
With almost half of Maryland’s adult population having gotten at least one shot, state officials are attempting to keep up the momentum by expanding eligibility.
Since opening the preregistration system to Phase 3 residents last week, the state has seen hundreds of thousands of people put their names on the vaccination list. It’s a sizeable number, but members of Maryland’s government are pushing for more residents to sign up as soon as possible.
“It’s been about 175,000 people since last week, approximately,” said Tara Hargadon, director of stakeholder engagement for Maryland’s COVID-19 task force. “It was a little bit of a slow trickle, and then it’s been a steady flow over the past few days. I’m urging all Marylanders to get out, get vaccinated.”
This recent vaccination expansion will not, however, turn the vaccine rollout into a free-for-all, and members of Phase 2C — which wasn’t originally scheduled to open before April 13 — shouldn’t worry about having to fight for appointment times.
During his announcement, Hogan detailed some of the caveats of this change for certain groups — those still waiting for a vaccine in Phases 1 and 2, and those under the age of 18.
“Individuals in Phase 1 or Phase 2 will continue to be prioritized,” said Hogan. “And Marylanders 16 or 17 years of age will only be able to utilize clinics that are providing the Pfizer vaccine.”
Hogan was hesitant to commit to an exact timeframe for when the mass majority of Marylanders can get vaccinated, but he did give a rough estimate for when that could happen; and it’s not far from now.
“We’d have to get more supply from the feds to hit the magic 100,000 a day number that our system can handle, but we don’t have enough vaccines for it [right now] … We should be able to finish everybody who wants one during April and May,” he said.
This change is currently limited to the state’s mass vaccination sites, but all vaccine providers are expected to open to Phase 3 individuals by April 12.
For those living around the Hagerstown area, Hogan also revealed that the Hagerstown mass vaccination site located at the Premium Outlets will be converted to a walk-up site beginning on Tuesday. Officials still recommend signing up for an appointment to avoid waiting in long lines and the possibility of the site running out of available doses.