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Gov. Hogan Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Starting Next Week
VIC CARTER: A light at the end of the tunnel. Governor Hogan makes a major announcement on vaccines. By the end of next month, all Marylanders 16 and older will be eligible for a shot. Hello, everyone. I'm Vic Carter.
DENISE KOCH: And I'm Denise Koch.
VIC CARTER: But before that, Maryland will move into the next phase, phase 2a, of the vaccination plan this coming Tuesday.
DENISE KOCH: And that means all Marylanders 60 and older will be able to get vaccinated. Now this announcement comes as the state reaches a milestone today, more than 2 million shots have now been administered.
VIC CARTER: WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren is live at the Convention Center breaking down the latest from the governor and who is included in the next phase of vaccinations. Mike.
MIKE HELLGREN: Vic, Denise, this is the most sweeping expansion of the vaccination program yet. And by the end of April, every Maryland adult will be eligible to get the vaccine, but everything is still dependent on supply.
LARRY HOGAN: April is going to look a heck of a lot different than March.
MIKE HELLGREN: Starting next week, Governor Hogan says Maryland will move to phase 2 and expand the number of people eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
LARRY HOGAN: The supply is going to be pouring in. And it's going to go where we can stick needles in people's arms.
MIKE HELLGREN: Here's the timeline. Next Tuesday, anyone 60 and older will be eligible to get vaccinated. They can preregister now. One week later on March 30, anyone 16 and older with underlying conditions can get the shot. On April 13, it expands to anyone 55 and older and includes more essential workers, like those in construction and IT. By April 27, the state hopes to offer the vaccine to everyone aged 16 and older.
LARRY HOGAN: But there's such a short supply and such tremendous demand, anybody that walked away and said I don't want that vaccine, I want to wait until there's another one may be waiting a while.
MIKE HELLGREN: Maryland will also begin allowing doctors to directly administer vaccines to their eligible patients, a pilot program involves 37 medical practices. They're also expanding mobile vaccination sites with an eye toward equity.
HOWARD HAFT: They can selectively reach out to those who have been left behind more than others, and they have these relationships.
MIKE HELLGREN: It comes as the positivity rate is now above 4%, and there are fears of another surge in cases nationwide fueled by more contagious variants.
LARRY HOGAN: We watch it every day. If there are concerns, you know, we're going to make adjustments as we have throughout this. The only way we really get it under control is to reach some type of herd immunity. If they want to get back to the way life used to be a year ago, they're going to have to get the vaccine.
MIKE HELLGREN: And the governor says the week of March 29 is when he expects a significant supply increase from the federal government. The supply level has been stagnant for the past several weeks, and he says for the next few months at least, he expects that you'll have to preregister and have an appointment before you can get a vaccine. Reporting live at the Convention Center, Mike Hellgren, WJZ.