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Former CDC director advising Maryland on COVID-19 vaccines, variants

The Honorable Robert Redfield, M.D.
 

A former federal official has joined Maryland’s team as an adviser as the state works to get more COVID-19 vaccines out to residents, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.

Hogan announced that the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, will join Maryland’s COVID-19 team as a senior adviser for public health. He will advise the state in a number of areas, including vaccines and variants.

Redfield on Monday visited the M&T Bank Stadium mass COVID-19 vaccination site and encouraged Marylanders to get the vaccine.

“What was most important to me was seeing one individual after another embrace the vaccine with confidence,” Redfield said. “I want to encourage all Marylanders and all Americans to embrace vaccines with confidence and not leave it on the shelf … This single act will help save lives and it will allow you to do your part to helping us all bring this pandemic to an end.”

“We have now vaccinated more than 40% of our eligible population, including many of our most vulnerable Marylanders; however, I know how frustrating this is for the many other people who are currently eligible and cannot yet schedule appointments because there are no vaccines available for them,” Hogan said.

The governor said the state is receiving an initial allocation of 49,600 of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, and all of it will be deployed this week. However, Hogan said the state was told that there will be no J&J shipping to the states next two weeks. The next shipment will not arrive until March 18.

The mass vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium will ramp up ahead of schedule to 2,000 shots per day, Hogan said. The Baltimore Convention Center will focus on underserved populations.

Hogan said the Southern Maryland mass vaccination site at the Blue Crabs’ stadium will open Thursday, which is one week early. Appointments will open Tuesday evening.

The Eastern Shore mass vaccination site will open by March 18 at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury in a partnership with Tidal Health, Hogan said.

A Western Maryland mass vaccination site in Hagerstown will open by the end of the month in partnership with Meritus Hospital.

The state is also in active discussions with counties that have expressed an interest in hosting a mass vaccination site. Hogan said the state will open more sites when there’s more supply.

“We’re using every tool at our disposal to get shots into arms and we will not rest until a vaccine is available to every single Marylander who wants one so that we can bring this pandemic to an end once and for all,” Hogan said.

Hogan said the state’s vaccination network includes 2,381 distribution points at pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, hospitals, local health departments and assisted living facilities.

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