BALTIMORE — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Friday took exception to comments made the previous day by Governor Larry Hogan, regarding city vaccine allocations.
Hogan was visiting Maryland's new mass vaccination clinic at M&T Bank Stadium when a reporter asked about Scott's request, that a certain percentage of vaccines at the site be reserved for city residents.
"As of last week Baltimore City had gotten far more than they really were entitled to, we got now two mass vaccine sites here," Hogan replied. "The City Health Department is only doing 14 percent of the shots here in the city, with other partners we're doing 86 percent of the effort."
In a released statement, Scott didn't take too kindly to the Governor's words.
"Baltimoreans are Marylanders too. They are both entitled to and deserve the vaccine," he said.
Scott accused Hogan of withholding where the city's share of doses are going.
"Week after week, the Governor has refused to share where the State is allocating doses in Baltimore City," said Scott.
Just yesterday morning however, prior to Hogan's remarks, Baltimore City's own Health Commissioner issued a press release detailing exactly how many doses the city received this week and where they would be distributed.
Here's the breakdown.
The Mayor also said local health departments have had trouble scheduling vaccine appointments because they've been, "required to utilize a broken, online-only sign up model."
On Wednesday, there were some reports that the registration site had crashed as people were trying to reserve an appointment at M&T Bank Stadium.
But the University of Maryland Medical System, who operates the site, said that never happened.
Along with the website, the state has added a hot line for residents to call and make appointments, seven days a week.
There are also plans next month to create a high powered one-stop website where appointments would be able to be scheduled at any of the state's mass vaccination clinics.
Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby also issued a statement in response to Hogan's remarks.
“Equity has nothing to do with entitlement,” Mosby said. “Baltimore City is not looking for special treatment, as the governor implied with his poor choice of words."
Throughout the entire vaccination process Scott has continually criticized Hogan and the state's efforts, claiming shots aren't being distributed equitably.
Last week Scott accused the state of supplying more vaccines to the Six Flags America mass vaccination site than the Baltimore Convention Center.
Hogan's communications director, Michael Ricci, quickly denied that saying the University of Maryland Medical System uses some of their vaccine allotment at the Convention Center, so the state doesn't have to provide anymore additional.
Despite that, the Governor has recently worked to address equability concerns.
More than two weeks ago Hogan tapped Maryland National Guard Brigadier General, Janeen Birckhead, to lead a newly formed Vaccine Equity Task Force.
Hogan tasked them with focusing COVID-19 vaccination efforts in under-served, vulnerable, and hard-to-reach city populations.
On Thursday Hogan said the task force would be out in the city over the weekend.
"We have the vaccines here we just gotta get more people in these communities the vaccine which is why we're going out into the community this weekend," said Hogan. "The General and Lt. Governor [Boyd Rutherford] will be out at churches in Baltimore City and we're all focused on this equity issue, but Baltimore city we've been doing everything we possibly can to help them."
The city has also received assistance from many of the hospitals located in Baltimore.
Earlier in the week an FDA report suggested Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, setting the stage for its potential approval and distribution in the coming days.
If that were to happen, Hogan said Maryland could receive tens-of-thousands of doses by next week, many of which are being manufactured in East Baltimore.
As of Friday -- 65,990 (11.119%) Baltimore City residents received their first dose of the vaccine, while 38,099 (6.419%) received a second.
Below is Scott and Mosby's full statements.
Baltimoreans are Marylanders too. They are both entitled to and deserve the vaccine. However, city residents do not have equitable access to vaccine doses. The State has not provided an equitable share to Baltimore City, but has required local health departments to utilize a broken, online-only sign up model that has forced our Health Department to develop workarounds. The State has ignored the barriers to access for communities too often left behind when we talk about health care in America.
Week after week, the Governor has refused to share where the State is allocating doses in Baltimore City. The Governor has refused to set up an equitable model for statewide vaccine registration. The Governor is now saying Baltimore City received more vaccine than we were “entitled to.” On behalf of Baltimore City and its residents – my constituents, who are also the Governor’s constituents – we are requesting an equitable supply of vaccine, and a commitment from the State that it will partner in delivering it in a way that ensures we are reaching our most vulnerable communities.
Equitably and efficiently distributing the vaccine is key to ending this pandemic. While our supply is limited, Baltimore will continue to work in partnership to focus our vaccination efforts on our neighbors at the highest priority, namely older adults over 65.
My administration remains prepared to vaccinate Baltimoreans as quickly as our supply allows. My Health Department has worked closely with the Office of Emergency Management, Fire Department and National Guard to develop a robust plan to equitably distribute vaccines once Baltimore receives an adequate allocation.
- Mayor Brandon Scott
Equity has nothing to do with entitlement,” City Council President Nick J. Mosby said. “Baltimore City is not looking for special treatment, as the governor implied with his poor choice of words. It is incumbent on our state leadership to recognize the inherent need to distribute this life-saving vaccine to the people who are most likely to die. This is not about entitlement. This is about life and death.
We must look at the data to know who is at the most risk — and that should be all the information the governor needs to decide where to send these doses. Data is the king of everything, particularly in a crisis when you are trying to solve a problem as consequential as an infectious disease that is killing Black and brown people at disproportionate rates. We can do better and it is not too late to change course.
-Council President Nick Mosby