Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the state is launching a new set of initiatives aimed at increasing access to coronavirus vaccines to seniors, college students and companies across Maryland.
“Today we are launching a series of No Arm Left Behind initiatives which will involve every state agency, private industries in every demographic, and an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure that every Marylander who wants a vaccine can get access to one as quickly as possible,” Hogan said at a news conference at the State House in Annapolis.
Hogan added: “This will include redoubling our efforts to reach that remaining 18% of Maryland seniors by going county by county and zip code by zip code in an effort to get every senior vaccinated.”
Hogan said the state is expanding vaccination efforts at senior housing facilities all across Maryland. Hogan said the state is “directly contacting” more than 70,000 Marylanders who are both over age 50 and on Medicaid in order to increase vaccine access among that demographic.
Hogan said that today he signed an executive order to allow senior centers across the state that were shuttered by the pandemic to reopen as early as April 30.
The governor said the new initiatives will involve partnerships with large companies such as Amazon, Comcast, Exelon, and Southwest Airlines in hopes that those companies will get their employees vaccinated as soon as possible. Hogan said the state will a launch public service announcement featuring Maryland physicians in order to help instill public confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
Hogan strongly urged Marylanders who have not yet been vaccinated to try and do so as soon as possible.
“We truly are close to that light at the end of the tunnel. Those of you who have not yet been vaccined, please go get a vaccine as quickly as you can. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your friends. And do it so that all of us can finally put this global pandemic behind us.”
Brigadier Gen. Janeen Birckhead, who is in charge of the state’s Vaccine Equity Task Force, said the state will further expand vaccination efforts by setting up mobile clinics at two of its historically Black colleges-Morgan State University and Bowie State University. Those clinics are expected to open as early as next week, Birckhead said.
There are 438,789 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as of Wednesday morning, according to the Department of Health, and 8,419 people in Maryland have died from the virus. The state’s positivity rate is at 5.28%, which is slightly above CDC recommended guidelines for containment. Maryland has conducted almost 9.4 million COVID-19 tests.
The state’s health care providers have administered more than 4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. That includes 2,379,702 (39.362%) first doses and 1,509,633 (24.97%) second doses. Nearly 1.7 million people in Maryland are fully vaccinated, which is about 28% of the state’s total population.