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Greenbelt Mayor Criticizes Gov. Hogan's COVID Response At FEMA Mass Vaccination Site Opening

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Gov. Larry Hogan faced sharp criticism Wednesday about the state's coronavirus response from Greenbelt Mayor Colin A. Byrd at an event opening a FEMA mass vaccination site in Prince George's County.

Video Transcript

- We turn, now, to the coronavirus pandemic, a tense back and forth between Governor Hogan and Maryland mayor, the governor facing some sharp criticism, and the state's COVID response from another elected official. WJZ is live tonight, Paul Gessler on the vaccination site that the you toured today, plus the governor's response to all of this. Paul?

PAUL GESSLER: Nicole, this happened in Greenbelt, where FEMA opened a vaccination site this week. An event organizer even tried to cut off the Greenbelt mayor's mic. After the governor and others toured the new FEMA-operated vaccination site at the Greenbelt metro station, its mayor took the mic.

COLIN BYRD: We could be looking at more people getting sick and more people dying.

PAUL GESSLER: Mayor Colin Byrd criticized the governor's comments on vaccine entitlement as well as equity issues and reopening.

COLIN BYRD: I want to let you know, Mr. Governor, very respectfully, that you have reopened the state, in my mind, far too quickly.

PAUL GESSLER: Since the state relaxed capacity restrictions last month, hospitalizations, positivity rate, and case rate are all up. Nine minutes into the mayor's remarks, an organizer cut him off.

- I got to cut--

COLIN BYRD: So make sure more Greenbelt--

- Sorry, sir.

COLIN BYRD: Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, sir.

PAUL GESSLER: The governor pointed to praise the state received for its response. More than three million vaccine doses have been administered so far, and 44% of Maryland adults have at least one shot.

LARRY HOGAN: We disagree with every word that he said. The Biden administration, twice this week, praised us as having the best equity effort in the entire country.

PAUL GESSLER: Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks responded to the criticism by instead focusing on the opening of the site meant to address inequities.

ANGELA ALSOBROOKS: It does not take very much talent to spot what's wrong. It takes much more talent and commitment to fix it.

PAUL GESSLER: The Greenbelt Metro site will prioritize Prince George's County residents, but will offer shots to anyone.

JANICE BARLOW: And the end of this pandemic is within reach. Everyone has to get vaccinated to make that happen.

PAUL GESSLER: Now in a soft opening yesterday, that Greenbelt Metro Station vaccination site administered about 1,000 vaccines. There are currently 12 mass vaccination sites statewide. Reporting live at 5:00 tonight, I'm Paul Gessler for WJZ.