Supplies of vaccines in Maryland were flat well before Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday increased the number of eligible Marylanders that can sign up for COVID-19 immunizations, which require two shots roughly three weeks apart.
The state still divvies up a weekly allotment of 72,000 doses amongst the state’s 24 jurisdictions, and Kent County’s share still averages around 500-700 doses a week, said Kent Health Officer William Webb in an interview on Tuesday.
Hogan moved the state into Phase 1C of the vaccine program effective Monday, making those 65 and older eligible for vaccines. Over 5,000 Kent residents fall into this demographic.
Agricultural workers and postal workers are also included in the Phase 1C group.
With supply flat, critics say Hogan’s decision to broaden eligibility did not result in an uptick of vaccinations.
Webb also confirmed a recent report from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services that indicated only half of the state’s allocations have been administered — and the other half remain in refrigerators across the state.
Webb made clear that Kent’s doses were not just sitting around taking up space at the health department here. He said every dose in storage has someone’s name on it.
“All of those doses are allocated to future appointments,” he said. “If we have 700 appointments we have 700 doses that are allocated into the future up to a week from now.”
“We haven’t put it in people’s arms yet but we have confirmed appointments,” he said. “And we are committed to getting the doses out as fast as we can.”
He said appointments are made as soon as vaccines arrive at the health department.
“When we get an allocation on Monday or Tuesday we start getting appointments lined up for the following week,” he said. “So the doses that arrive this week are dispensed the following week into people’s arms.”
Webb said the Kent County Health Department received 300 first doses and 400 second doses for the week of Jan. 25. In the prior week 200 first doses and 500 second doses were received.
Webb said the health department keeps 50 doses in reserve in case there’s an issue with a future delivery.
“We do this so we don’t have to cancel appointments if there’s a problem with a weekly delivery,” he said.