Vanishing vaccines in Baltimore

Critics say supply not reaching elderly residents
Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 07:32:18-05

BALTIMORE — If it seems vaccines have been scarce for seniors here in Baltimore, City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer says there’s a good reason for it.

“The old saying goes, ‘Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t lie.’ I’m looking at the numbers,” Schleifer told us.

The numbers the councilman is referring to suggest less than two out of five doses delivered to Baltimore actually end up in the arms of people who live here.

It is a point Governor Larry Hogan has tried to counter at every turn.

“As of last week, Baltimore City had gotten far more than they were really entitled to. We’ve got now two mass vax sites here,” the governor said last week as he toured the clinic at M&T Bank Stadium.

But vaccines at the Baltimore Convention Center and at the stadium have previously been open to Marylanders across the state.

“We know we’ve asked for 50 percent of the doses that they’re giving at the mass sites in the city that they should be designated for city residents,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott told a caller to a telephone town hall this week. “The governor has not said that’s going to happen.”

Now, a plan is underway to move residents from six of the city’s neediest zip codes towards the front of the line.

“The Baltimore Convention Center mass vaccination site will now expand its focus and will now prioritize underserved communities in Baltimore City,” the governor announced on Wednesday.

It is a move welcomed by critics of the state’s distribution plan who claim first responders and healthcare workers who live outside of the city had been taking priority in Baltimore over its eldest and most vulnerable citizens.

“Right now, Baltimore City is in 22nd place out of the 24 jurisdictions in the State of Maryland in percentage of population vaccinated,” said Schleifer. “So the vaccines are simply not making it to the citizens of Baltimore.”