Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that all Marylanders ages 16 and older can pre-register for the coronavirus vaccine in the state.
LARRY HOGAN: We are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still very much with us.
RICK RITTER: You heard him, Governor Hogan urging all Marylanders to continue to stay safe to stop the spread of the coronavirus variants as even more people can now pre-register for a COVID vaccine. Welcome to the news at 5:00, everyone. I'm Rick Ritter.
DENISE KOCH: And I'm Denise Koch. Well, right now everyone in Maryland 16 and older will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
RICK RITTER: And this announcement comes as the state reaches a vaccination milestone, but still struggling, really, to control the virus. And WJZ has live team coverage tonight of the state's vaccination efforts. WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren looks at what went wrong at Emergent BioSolutions that ruined millions of vaccines.
DENISE KOCH: But let's begin with Ava-joye Burnett. She has more on the governor's vaccine eligibility announcement, and it's a big one. Ava-joye.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Good afternoon. Starting at this very moment, anyone who is 16 and older will be able to go online, put in their information, and wait to be called when a vaccine is available. But keep in mind that people who are in phases 1 and 2 will still be a priority. As Maryland passes the 1 million mark for people who are fully vaccinated, the governor announced effective immediately even more people will be able to start joining the line to pre-register for a shot.
LARRY HOGAN: We are immediately opening pre-registration to phase 3, meaning all Marylanders age 16 and older-- let me repeat that. As of today, every single Marylander who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can now pre-register for an appointment at a mass vaccination site.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: The governor's announcement comes as the state continues to see a surge in new cases. Maryland's positivity rate has increased several days in a row. It's now at 5 and 1/2%.
- You doing all right otherwise?
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Jurisdictions across the state are trying to outrun the virus. In Baltimore, health officials drove a mobile unit to the east end of the city to vaccinate people. Medical professionals say young people are the ones who are getting sick now.
LETITIA DZIRASA: We know that there's COVID fatigue. We know that people want to spend time with their families. We know that there's been increased mobility for the past month, that people are moving about as if there is no longer a pandemic.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: With the Easter holiday approaching, the hope is that family get-togethers will not add to the COVID-19 caseload.
- Everyone has COVID fatigue. We know the weather's getting better. But it's not the time to be reckless. It is not the time to be stupid, to be quite frank, and go and be in places in unsafe ways.
AVA-JOYE BURNETT: And starting tomorrow, there will be a site on the Eastern Shore where you will not need an appointment to actually get a vaccine. As long as you're in the correct phases, you may be able to sign up and get a shot. And the hope is to extend that opportunity to other sites in the state. Live tonight at 5:00, Ava-joye Burnett for WJZ.