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Officials address reports of 'vaccine shopping'; say don't wait

Posted at 5:15 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 17:18:29-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — There’s such a short supply and such a tremendous demand. Anybody that walked away and said, 'I don’t want that vaccines, I wanna wait until there’s another one,' might be waiting a while," said Gov. Larry Hogan.

As Hogan announced the state is moving into phase 2A of vaccine distribution, he also addressed hesitancy, to get the vaccine in general, or one specifically. He said while he hasn’t heard too many reports of vaccine shopping,it would be a big mistake for someone to turn down a specific vaccine.

"All of these vaccines are tremendous. They all surpass any efficacy expectations that anyone ever had and better that just about any vaccines that we’ve ever had in this country," said Hogan.

After a tip that people are showing up to the Baltimore County fairgrounds for their scheduled vaccine appointment and leaving without getting vaccinated when they find out which vaccine they would get, WMAR-2 News reached out to the Baltimore County health officer to see if there’s any truth to this.

"We have not had anyone that I know of who have come to the fairgrounds and said they don’t want to take a particular vaccine. However, I do know there are people out there who would like to a prefer a particular vaccine over another for various reasons and I don’t even know what those reasons are, but they are saying, 'I want this one over that one'," said Dr. Gregory Branch.

There was also a concern that it was leaving doses at risk of expiring.

"We understand there is always a no-show rate so what we do is we overbook so we don’t have extra doses running around or expiring in Baltimore County," said Branch.

His message is simple.

"Welcome whichever vaccine that’s available at that particular time," said Branch.

Because of differences in the Phase 3 trails of each vaccine, it’s hard to make direct comparisons.

However, the Pfizer vaccine was found to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease, the Moderna vaccine 94% effective and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 66% effective in preventing moderate COVID-19 and 85% effective in preventing severe disease.

"It’s extraordinarily important that as soon as you can get the vaccine, please do. Don’t wait for the next vaccine because that time could be a matter of life and death," said Branch.

There are two other vaccines, from AstraZeneca and Novavax based in Gaithersburg, that are expected to submit for emergency use authorization this spring.