Maryland is getting ready to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one becomes available.
Governor Larry Hogan released Maryland’s first draft of the COVID-19 mass vaccination plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday after touring the headquarters of Novavax, Inc. in Gaithersburg—one of nearly 40 Maryland companies that are developing and manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines.
“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,” Hogan said.
“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.”
In April, Maryland state health officials began to discuss how to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine. That preparation included reviewing lessons learned from previous pandemics and outbreaks—including the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic—as well as previous influenza vaccination campaigns.
The 2-Phased Plan for Vaccination Distribution
Phase 1: Vaccination of Critical Populations
Right off the bat, the COVID-19 vaccination efforts will target those at highest risk of developing complications from COVID-19 and those in critical industries such as frontline first responders and health care workers evaluating and caring for COVID-19 patients; staff and residents of nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and assisted living facilities; and essential workers, including public safety, education, and staff in congregate living facilities.
Phase 2: Vaccination of General Public
Determination of the beginning of Phase 2 will depend on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, notification by CDC and state authorities that the general public Phase 2 can begin due to sufficient supply, and/or how well the Phase 1 groups meet certain targeted metrics for the vaccination.
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is actively recruiting and enrolling health care providers, local health departments, employee occupational health providers, and pharmacists in Maryland’s Vaccine Program Immunization Information System (ImmuNet) to ensure that there will be enough vaccinators to meet local needs. ImmuNet is where providers register to order COVID-19 vaccines, track delivery of vaccines, report doses administered, and determine when second doses are due.
There are several online dashboards that are currently under development to monitor the vaccination program. The weekly flu vaccination dashboard and the COVID-19 vaccination response dashboard will use data related to the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations that are collected from various sources. MDH will also have Maryland-specific dashboards based on information collected in ImmuNet.
For most COVID-19 vaccines, two doses of the vaccine will be required. Second dose reminders will be provided to patients in several ways. Marylanders may choose to receive reminders through PrepMod, an online resource that will be used to schedule clinics, track equipment needs, and report vaccination activity. Maryland also has a consumer vaccination portal, Maryland MyIR, which allows registered users to obtain their current vaccination records from ImmuNet, and can also be used to issue reminder messages if two doses are required.
To view the full vaccination plan as well as other Maryland COVID-19 metrics and information, visit Maryland.gov.
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