As the federal government gears up for a potential COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Maryland has submitted its distribution plan to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
States were due to submit draft plans to the CDC by last week. The governor’s office released the details of Maryland’s two-phase strategy on Tuesday.
Under Phase 1, Maryland would provide vaccines to those who are most at-risk of developing complications from COVID-19 exposure — nursing home residents and staff, and people who reside in long-term care and assisted living facilities.
Also in Phase 1: those work work in high-risk professions — first responders, health care personnel who care for coronavirus patients, people who work in assisted living facilities, public safety personnel, teachers and other school employees, and workers in congregate living facilities, such as homeless shelters and jails.
Members of the general population would receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 2, as supplies permit.
“In anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine, Maryland stands ready to order, distribute, and administer it effectively and rapidly as soon as a vaccine becomes available,” said Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) in a statement.
“The State of Maryland’s plan for this historic undertaking will immediately make the vaccine available to Marylanders at highest risk of developing complications from COVID-19 as well as our critical frontline health care workers and essential workers in public safety and education.”
The Maryland Department of Health is recruiting health care providers, local health departments, employee occupational health providers and pharmacists to participate in administering a vaccine when one is available.
It’s anticipated that a COVID-19 vaccine would need to be administered in two doses, and vaccinators in the state’s “ImmuNet” program will be responsible for ordering, tracking delivery, reporting on doses administered, and determining when second doses are due.
“From provider recruitment and enrollment to vaccine storage and reminders about second doses, MDH has taken a very calculated approach to ensure the logistics, operations, and execution of this plan are thorough and efficient,” said MDH Acting Deputy Secretary of Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan in a statement.
Dozens of Maryland biotech firms are working on vaccine development.
By Bruce DePuyt