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Vaccine shortage in Maryland fuels debate

Questions raised over allocations
Posted at 2:49 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 18:16:49-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Tension mounts within a Senate workgroup in Maryland as it focuses on the numbers and the predictability of COVID vaccines.

“It looked like there were 88,000 that came in,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson. “At least if we’re projecting 88,000 per week for the next three weeks, is that 15,000 just for the health department to use?”

Health departments versus retail pharmacies, front line workers versus the elderly, and those receiving first shots versus those awaiting second ones, yet the supply is limited to just a fraction of those who need it.

Not to mention the federal government delivering less supply this week than last.

“Today, I’ve heard that multiple hospitals and health systems are having difficulty getting second doses for their healthcare workers, that there are second doses that were supposed to be delivered last week that are still missing and haven’t materialized,” said Sen. Clarence Lam, (D) Baltimore & Howard Counties.

“That is correct,” responded Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader. “We think that in the transition between the two administrations, HHS has been having a struggle reconciling the different data.”

It is a dire shortage of the vaccine that leaves critics wondering why the state is planning to open six mass vaccination sites when it can no longer guarantee the amount of vaccine, which will be directed to local health departments.

“Based on the past, if it’s Western Maryland, you’re going to put it in Hagerstown. That always happens,” said Sen. Ron Young, (D) Frederick County. “What good does that do anybody in my county? I mean we’re still trying to get 75, 80-year-old people vaccinated and now you’re telling me they are on all these waiting lists and they have to drive to Hagerstown?”

If you'd like to know where your county stands on the vaccine roll-out, click here.