Governor Urges Eligible Marylanders To Get Their COVID Booster Shots

He also says the state is getting ready to vaccinate children against the coronavirus.

Annapolis, Md (KM) Now that the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has given its approval to use the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines as booster shots, Governor Larry Hogan is urging all eligible Marylanders to get these vaccinations  against COVID-19. “We have a robust network of vaccination providers, including pharmacies, primary care providers, mobile clinics, local health departments and community health centers,” Hogan said during a news conference in Annapolis on Monday. “And we have both the supply and the capacity to provide a booster shot to anyone who needs one.”

The CDC has already authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use as a booster shot.

The Governor said  those who are eligible for the boosters are individuals 65 and older; those persons 18 and older with underlying health problems; and individuals whose jobs put them at increased risk of contracting COVID, such as health care workers, employees at congregate care facilities such as nursing homes, and first responders such as medics, fire fighters and police officers.

Hogan said those Marylanders who meet these requirements who have received their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine  are eligible. “For all Marylanders who received the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine at least two months ago-which means or before August 25th–both the FDA and CDC are now recommending that you get a booster shot as soon as possible,” the Governor says.

Dennis Schrader, Secretary of Health for Maryland, says the boosters will maintain a person’s immunity. “As with many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines do have a limitation in their durability,.” he said. “Over time, the powerful protection that vaccines have given us, including against the delta and other variants, will naturally wane.”

Nearly, 1.4-million Marylanders fall into this category and are eligible to receive the booster shots, Hogan says.

Also at his news conference, Governor Hogan announced that the state is preparing to give the COVID-19 shots to children. He says the CDC is expected next week to authorize the use of the vaccines against the coronavirus for kids between the ages of five and 11. “Pfizer has submitted data to the federal government which shows that it’s vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective against symptomatic  COVID-19 in children,” he says.

The Governor says state health officials have placed orders for 180,000 Pfizer vaccines for children, and are working with pediatricians, pharmacies, school systems, health departments and the Vaccine Equity Task Force. He says when the authorization comes from the CDC,  515,000 children in Maryland will be eligible immediately for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer has  already received authorization to be used on kids between the ages of 12 and 17.

The Governor’s Office says more than 8.3-million COVID vaccines have been administered in Maryland, with 280,000 booster shots. Also, 98% of Marylanders 65 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. ; 85.9% of those 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; and 84.9% of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Maryland’s COVID-19 positivity rate currently stands at 3.21%, a drop of 37.1% since August 22nd, the Governor’s Office says. The COVID Case rate in the state per 100,000 is 12.6., a decrease of 39.4% since September 15th. And hospitalizations in the state for COVID-19 is 609, a decline of 27.9% since September 9th, and are down by 68.8% from their peak. The Governor’s Office is also reporting a total of five pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization which represents a 0.8% total COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide.

By Kevin McManus