By DARRYL KINSEY JR.
Emergency use authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would provide a huge boost to Maryland’s efforts to fill the gulf of supply in the state’s vaccine allotment, Gov. Larry Hogan, R, said Thursday.
Hogan made the statement at a press conference after a tour of the M&T Bank Stadium vaccination site.
The governor’s comments echo those he made on Tuesday that the vaccine, produced by Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore, could receive FDA Emergency Use Authorization as early as Friday.
Authorization by the FDA, which would make it the third vaccine in the U.S, would bolster the options states have in treating the enormous demand for vaccinations.
The single-dose vaccine would allow more people to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 quicker than the two-dose variants from Moderna and Pfizer.
Earlier in the day, Hogan took a tour of the newly operational mass vaccination facility, along with the head of the State’s Vaccine Equity Task Force, Gen. Janeen Birckhead.
The governor spoke with constituents and watched several vaccinations in progress during the walkthrough of the site, built in a large reception area in the stadium’s club level.
President and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System Dr. Mohan Suntha and Michael Frenz from the Maryland Stadium Authority were also in attendance.
Suntha called the establishment of the new mass vaccination site a step in a “big process” of ensuring Maryland Communities were vaccinated.
Birckhead said the new vaccination center was “one step closer to getting us back to normal.”
The site is expected to eventually administer 2,000 doses of the vaccine per day, and up to 10,000 per day at its peak, according to Hogan.
Signups for the M&T Bank Stadium vaccination site began on Monday, with some some 15,000 appointments registered before Thursday’s opening, according to the governor’s office.
However, the Baltimore Sun reported that the signup page for appointments was overwhelmed as Marylanders rushed to schedule an appointment.
M&T Bank Stadium is the third Mass Vaccination site to open in Maryland, joining the Baltimore Convention Center and Six Flags America in Bowie.
A fourth mass vaccination site is slated to open in Southern Maryland in March at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf with support from FEMA.
Maryland has administered 1.18 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine at a seven-day average of 31,050, according to the Maryland COVID-19 vaccination dashboard.
Maryland is in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C of its vaccination plan, which allows residents 65 and older, teachers, health care workers, the developmentally disabled, nursing home staff and residents, and others to get the vaccine.
Eligible Maryland residents can call 1-855-MDGOVAX(1-855-634-6829) to schedule an appointment from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.