State lawmakers grilled the state’s top health official during the senate’s vaccine oversight workgroup meeting over the Maryland Health Department’s response to a contractor accused of mishandling vaccines.
Hundreds of people will have to be re-vaccinated because a company called True Care 24 was found to improperly store the vaccines, among other issues.
The company was hired to administer vaccines starting in July, but after a whistleblower complaint, the state stopped the company from doing vaccinations in September.
Lawmakers questioned state health secretary Dennis Schrader on why it took months to notify patients on the issue and what’s being done to get them another shot.
“I’m really not happy this has taken so long because it should have been done quicker,” said Schrader.
“We need to make sure that these people can be re-vaccinated in the quickest way possible and assuming that that is safe,” State Senator Mary Washington said.
Schrader said more than 500 people involved have been contacted to offer them another appointment.
He said an audit is underway and he expects a report by the end of the month.
State Senator Clarence Lam questioned Schrader on True Care as well, but he also raised questions about other vendors possibly having issues administering vaccines.
“I think the systemic problem lies with the fact that a lot of the vendors are being paid per shot for each shot administered so it seems like there’s a blind drive to just hit the numbers to get as many people vaccinated as possible regardless of the cost, regardless of the risk of safety,” Sen. Lam said.
Schrader said the state stopped paying companies per shot and have since began paying them a flat fee.
He also said the health department should be in contact with all patients involved by the end of the week.
“We take this issue very seriously and the effective of vaccines and patient safety are the utmost importance,” Schrader said.