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Gov. Larry Hogan gives his latest COVID-19 press conference.

On Tuesday, Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland health officials laid out the state’s plans for a COVID-19 vaccination distribution, a plan Hogan said the Maryland Department of Health has been working on for eight months.

“This is, by far, the most massive undertaking of this pandemic. The calvary is coming, a vaccine is on the way, but it is absolutely critical that we continue to fight this virus with everything we’ve got, and we need to keep doing all the things that we know will help to keep us safe,” Hogan said.

PHASE 1A OF VACCINATION TO FOCUS ON CRITICAL HEALTH CARE WORKERS, LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES, FIRST RESPONDERS

During Tuesday’s announcement, Maryland health officials announced that the state’s initial vaccine allocations will go to critical health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, as well as first responders. The state has signed up all of the state’s 227 nursing homes and 1,668 assisted living facilities for the federal distribution partnership through CVS and Walgreens.

STATE OF MARYLAND TO RECEIVE 155,000 INITIAL VACCINE DOSES

The State of Maryland will receive 155,000 initial first doses of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines. Distribution could begin the week of December 14 for the Pfizer vaccine, and the week of December 21 for the Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -80°C, and the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at -20°C.

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS EXPAND PROVIDERS’ ABILITY TO ADMINISTER VACCINES

State health officials issued an emergency order that expands the scope of practice so that any licensed healthcare provider—including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and pharmacists—can administer the COVID-19 vaccine with appropriate training and supervision.

The order reiterates that healthcare providers who already have the statutory authority to administer vaccines can administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Since some COVID-19 vaccines require dilution before being administered, the order also authorizes licensed healthcare providers to prepare the vaccine after receiving training. Read the order.

GOVERNOR AND LT. GOVERNOR WILL BE VACCINATED PUBLICLY

Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford will receive the COVID-19 vaccine publicly as soon as one becomes available to them. Hogan will lead an “aggressive statewide public outreach campaign” to encourage Marylanders to get vaccinated. The campaign will collaborate with trusted community partners and utilize targeted outreach to address vaccine hesitancy, including among minority populations.

The state stores vaccination records through ImmuNet, which serves as the cornerstone of Maryland’s immunization information system. Providers will use ImmuNet to place vaccine orders. This HIPAA-compliant system has been used in Maryland for over 15 years, and has been enhanced to handle the additional information anticipated with COVID-19 vaccinations. Marylanders can access their own vaccination records at MD.MyIR.net.

ADDITIONAL COVID-19 UPDATES

Last week, the state activated its Critical Care Coordination Center to make it easier to shift patients between hospitals to ensure that they get the care they need. The center has already helped place 38 patients among 18 different hospitals across the state.

As part of a medical staffing surge, 4,268 prospects have already signed up through MarylandMedNow to work at state hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites, and vaccination clinics.

Hogan also announced that 1,223,000 Marylanders have subscribed to MD COVID Alert, the state’s contact tracing app—giving Maryland one of the highest adoption rates in the nation.

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