He says the Governor ‘bungled’ it.
Annapolis, Md (KM) One Frederick County legislator is not happy with the way COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed in Maryland.
Delegate Ken Kerr is a member of the House Health and Government Operations Committee. The panel questioned Health Department representatives this week about the distribution of the vaccine. Kerr says most of the supply has gone to less populated counties in Maryland. “Such as Kent County; has only 19,000 people, is one of the highest rates of vaccination. Worcester County, which has I think about 80,000 people, high rates of vaccination; as well as Garrett County and Allegany County,:” he says.
Frederick County has a population of 259,547 as of 2019, according to the US Census Bureau.
Delegate Kerr says Governor Larry Hogan bungled the vaccine roll out. “What we really need from the Governor is transparency, and we need a plan. And we need a single source to sign up for the vaccines. Those three things are lacking in the Governor’s plan.”
Governor Hogan has said in past news conferences that the demand for the vaccine is high, but the shipments coming in from the federal government are not keeping up. He also said the amount of vaccine coming to Maryland will remain the same for the next two weeks before we see an increase in vaccine supply.
In addition, the Governor’s Office says more than 1.6-million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered in Maryland. Providers have injected an average of 36,992 does per day. Also, the state has received 49,600 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses, and 34,454 of that amount have been administered.
Kerr also said the General Assembly is taking up legislation to reform Maryland’s unemployment compensation process. He says the website run by the Maryland Department of Labor could not handle claims submitted by residents who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed to a software upgrade which made a bad situation worse, and a lot of residents who were waiting in line to have their claims processed had to start all over again. “For no reason at all, people are getting notices that their claim has been closed or their funds have been frozen,” says Kerr. “The system doesn’t work. They were unprepared for this. They didn’t ramp up as quickly as they should have.”
And Delegate Kerr says he’s been hearing from citizens. “I’ve have constituents who have been waiting six months for their unemployment claims, legitimate unemployment claims, to be settled,” he says
“And then we see that there are as many as a half-a-million fraudulent claims that were not caught initially because of the system’s inadequacies,” he says.
Kerr hopes this legislation will fix these problems. “The General Assembly doesn’t have any control over vaccine distribution or the unemployment insurance. It’s completely with the Governor and his departments,” he says. “But what we can do is we can put legislation in to correct deficiencies going forward to make this doesn’t happen again.”
By Kevin McManus