Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccination plan is moving faster than anticipated.
The plan, which was launched on Jan. 5, consists of these phases:
- Phase 1A, which includes all licensed, registered, and certified health care providers; residents and staff of nursing homes; first responders; and public safety and corrections employees. This phase includes more than half a million Marylanders.
- Phase 1B, which includes all Marylanders age 75 and older; special needs group homes; high-risk inmates; developmentally disabled populations; continuity of government vaccinations; and teachers, child care, and education staff. About 860,000 Marylanders fall into this category.
- Phase 1C, which includes all Marylanders ages 65-74; and workers in other critical sectors, including grocery stores, public transit, agriculture production, and manufacturing. Phase 1C includes an estimated 772,000 Marylanders.
- Phase 2, which will include Marylanders ages 16 to 64 who are at increased risk of COVID-19 due to comorbidities, and essential workers in critical utilities and other sectors. This phase includes an estimated 1.1 million Marylanders.
- Phase 3, which will include the state’s general population, including healthy adults ages 16 to 64.
The original timeline called for Phase 1C to begin in early March, but state officials accelerated that to the point that those eligible under Phase 1C began receiving their vaccinations on Jan. 25.
According to the Maryland Department of Health, Phase 1C specifically includes the following individuals and industries:
- All Marylanders over 65.
- All other public safety workers not in Phase 1A.
- All other health care workers not in Phase 1A, including, but not limited to, lab services, public health, vaccine manufacturing, and other health care professions.
- Food and agriculture production.
- Critical manufacturing.
- The U.S. Postal Service.
- Public mass transit.
- Grocery stores.
- Veterinarians and support staff.
- Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship.
In the meantime, all individuals included in Phases 1A and 1B are still eligible to receive their vaccines.
CPAs included in Phase 2
Given their status as essential employees, CPAs fall under Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout. With the vaccine rollout’s timeline now accelerated, Phase 2 could begin by early March.
According to the Maryland Department of Health, CPA firms and other organizations with locations in multiple states should ask their employees to obtain their vaccines in the states in which they live.
“We prefer that Marylanders are prioritized for getting a vaccine allocated to us by the federal government,” the state Department of Health stated in a recent bulletin. “However, Maryland will not turn away a person from out of state who needs a vaccine. We ask that non-Maryland residents attempt to obtain their vaccine from their home state in order to maximize the doses available to Marylanders.”
Mass vaccination sites, pharmacies join the effort
Meanwhile, Gov. Larry Hogan has expanded Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccination network to include the opening of at least six mass vaccination sites at central locations, and new pharmacy partners in targeted areas. This growing network will help supplement the vaccinations being administered in hospitals and local health departments.
By Feb. 5, vaccinations will be under way at both Six Flags America sites in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore Convention Center. M&T Bank Stadium also will serve as a mass vaccination site. Additional regional sites on the Eastern Shore and in Western and Southern Maryland are being finalized.
Vaccination capacity at mass sites will be based on allocations, and an announcement will be made when appointments for mass sites become available.
The state also will expand its pharmacy network of vaccinators to include select Safeway and Rite Aid locations. The state is utilizing data and modeling, along with input from local officials, to select pharmacies in underserved areas.
Vaccinations are under way in Walmart, Giant, and Martin’s stores. As of the week of Feb. 1, there will be 51 retail pharmacies providing vaccinations statewide, and that number will increase as the state receives more supply.
The state will also partner with pharmacies to stand up mobile clinics in hard-to-reach areas.