BALTIMORE — The Senate Vaccine Oversight Workgroup had their first of many oversight meetings tracking vaccine distribution in Maryland.
“There is nothing more important in the State of Maryland than our collective efforts to get vaccinations into arms,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson
To start there was a slide show showing a Reduction in vaccines put into arms this week compared to last week.
Looking at CDC data as of Jan 23rd Maryland is ranked 40th for vaccines administered per population and ranks 3rd in percent of unused with around 59% of vaccines not distributed.
“Data collection is understandably difficult for everyone during this initial vaccination and during this whole coronavirus pandemic,” said Mike Powell with the Dept. of Legislative Services. “You will see different numbers from different places. In the right hand column that’s what the CDC says has been distributed to Md. the left column is what MDH reports,”
A few weeks back Governor Larry Hogan appointed Dennis Schrader as Acting Health Secretary.
“What were doing is very carefully building the infrastructure so that as we get more doses,” said Schrader. “We’re hoping by the Spring and Summer we will see a very large increase, if another couple of vaccines come on the market, if the administration is able to get more production out of the two manufacturers we currently have that will bring us more doses. We want to have those channels open.”
Before the Senate Executive Nominations Committee decides if they will back Schrader to permanently take the job they will they will hold these meetings weekly.
Senator Clarence Lam who represents Baltimore and Howard County was questioning the decision to move to Phase 1C so soon.
“By opening up 1C and adding another 710,000 people into the mix it’s only making it harder for these teachers in 1B to get to this process,” said Lam. “Can you explain why we moved so quickly into 1C?”
Schrader said the Federal government forced the states hand to move into the next phase.
Senator Addie Eckardt, who represents Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, & Wilconico Counties, was concerned with Walmart and Giant taking away shots that could be going to the health department for people in earlier phases.
“Are we taking the amount that would have gone to the health to the health department to give them to another entity in the meantime because that means,” Eckardt said.
Schrader said the answer is absolutely yes.
“That’s not fair, with all due respect that doesn’t seem to be fair when there’s people waiting in line to get a vaccine with the health department why would we open up another entity taking away their allotment?” Questioned Eckardt.
“We can’t wait three months to put these capabilities in place and find out we’re not ready when the federal government starts to send us lots and lots more doses,” said Schrader.
Right now there are around 2 million people eligible to get the vaccine.
They will hold these oversight hearings every Monday.