‘It’s not just sticking needles in arms’: Vaccine rollout off to a bumpy start with surge of COVID-19 cases expected soon

Posted at 10:11 PM, Dec 30, 2020

BALTIMORE — As hospitals brace for yet another surge of COVID-19 cases, the roll out of the highly anticipated vaccines are off to a start slower than expected.

The country is millions short of its goal to vaccinate 20 million by the end of the year. According to the CDC, 11 million doses of the vaccines have been shipped, but only 2.1 million of them have been administered.

In Maryland, the state has administered 19 percent of its supply since it received doses two weeks ago, but the health department said that number will grow as the process is beginning to ramp up.

On Tuesday, more than 8,000 people were vaccinated, which was the highest single-day total yet., said a state health department spokesperson.

Officials believe the vaccination numbers could ultimately be higher due to a lag in reporting.

However, during an interview with CBS This Morning, Governor Larry Hogan did acknowledge some hospitals are having a tough time administering the vaccine.

“It’s not just sticking needles in arms. There’s a lot of moving parts. And I think nobody is quite performing at the top capacity,” he said.

Bob Atlas, who is the president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, said the end of year projections were too aggressive.

“The expectations were a little too great to begin with,” he said.

Atlas admits some hospitals have run into some logistical and shipping issues, where some have received doses they weren’t expecting.

He also said there’s still some healthcare workers who are skeptical about taking the vaccine. Atlas emphasized the importance of ramping up the education component to improve the rollout of the vaccine as well.

Atlas expects the problems will get addressed and predictions vaccinations will increase by the thousands soon.

“These are problems you’d almost expect,” he said due to how new the virus is to everyone. “There is nothing catastrophic happening here. It’s just a little bit of a logistical mess.”

Governor Hogan said some of these issues could have been avoided if the federal government offered more support but he added there’s no need to point fingers.

Instead, he said everyone can and must do better.

“We all need to be ramping up if we’re going to get this enormous job done at the across the country,” he said.

In total, more than 36,000 people have been vaccinated in the state.