Maryland facing shortage of second COVID vaccine doses, health secretary says

Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun
·2 min read

Maryland is facing a shortage of second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state’s acting health secretary said Monday, putting hospitals at risk of not being able to complete the regimen of many people who have already received the first dose, including front-line workers.

Maryland Acting Secretary of Health Dennis R. Schrader said during a virtual Senate Vaccine Oversight Workgroup hearing on Monday that the shortages were causing “a lot of angst” in the department, and that the state believes the allotment numbers were miscommunicated during the presidential administration transition.

“We’ve been on the phone with them all weekend,” Schrader said, adding that he doesn’t “want to give up” on the federal government just yet.

The U.S. Department of Health Human Services, however, said that allocations to states have not changed.

“We are working closely with state health officials in Maryland to clarify any misunderstanding,” said Bill Hall, spokesman for the department.

Both of the two vaccines authorized in the United States require two doses, administered 21 and 28 days apart. Both doses are required for full protection against serious illness brought on by COVID-19.

Appointments to get the vaccine in Maryland and elsewhere have been hard to come by as national vaccine inventory remains low. As of Monday, 455,910 people in the state had gotten at least one dose, according to state health department figures. About 2 million to 3 million doses will need to be administered to cover everyone who is currently eligible in Maryland.

Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said states are seeking clarity from the federal government on this week’s second dose allocations.

“Those conversations are ongoing,” he said.

The Maryland Hospital Association did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

This article will be updated.