Monday, Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to President Joe Biden, outlining critical actions he wants the federal government to take to combat COVID-19.
Governor Hogan hit four key points in his letter. The first two revolved around a booster shot. He wants booster shots immediately available for all seniors and anyone considered to be a vulnerable person. He also wants booster shots available for anyone who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Now that the FDA has given full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, Governor Hogan wants the process to be advanced for the other vaccines to get full approval. The hope with the vaccines getting full approval is to encourage those hesitant Americans to get vaccinated and for businesses to implement a vaccine mandate.
President Biden said, "if you're a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that, require it."
The Governor's final push was to expedite the approval process of vaccines for children between 5 and 11. He stressed with school starting so soon and COVID impacting the younger population, it's crucial to get the emergency use authorization for this age group. Some are hoping this would happen by late fall.
"That seems like a reasonable timeline to me. Again, we don't want to get ahead of the FDA right now. The best way to keep our children under the age of 12 safe is to vaccinate all the people who are around them and to have them wear masks when they attend schools," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC Director.
Right now, the positivity rate in Maryland is back under 5 percent at 4.97 percent. The State Department of Health reported 925 new cases on Monday. Hospitalizatons are also up, nearly 700 people being treated for COVID complications with 160 in intensive care.
More than 80 percent of Marylanders have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.