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Recently, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that all state residents will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 27 under state guidelines.
Maryland is now in Phase 2B, which qualifies all residents age 16 and older with medical conditions that increase the risk of COVID-19 illness for the vaccine. By April 13, Maryland will enter Phase 2C which will qualify residents aged 55 to 60 and essential workers in certain industries such as food services, utilities, construction workers, IT and other infrastructure roles.
Junior Karen Howell is a student at WJ who has now qualified for the vaccine.
“It’s a great feeling to get vaccinated, I just got mine this morning and it finally feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Howell said.
Hogan had announced that anyone 16 and up can now pre-register for the vaccine as vaccination sites and doses are increasing in Maryland.
WJ students feel that expanding the eligibility of the COVID-19 vaccine is a positive thing for the whole community as it will ensure the safety and health of students.
Junior Anais Harley is excited to now be eligible for the vaccine.
“I am very happy with Hogan expanding the criteria for eligibility for the vaccine because it is finally the light at the end of the tunnel I had been waiting for. Now that I can soon be vaccinated, life is finally returning to normal and I can see my friends and family,” Harley said.
Vaccine distribution will be increased through the opening of mass vaccination sites such as the new Montgomery College’s Germantown campus opening on April 5 which will administer 1,500 doses daily and has a goal of administering 3,00 doses by April 15, according to the Bethesda Beat. According to Hogan, there are plans to open mass vaccination sites in Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard and Harford counties.
The state is planning on increasing access to vaccines in additional ways. A new pilot program that will provide doses to primary care providers, according to the Bethesda Beat. The pilot program will allow health care providers to call patients directly to schedule vaccine appointments. Distribution of vaccines will also be distributed to 275 pharmacies, 38 hospitals and 24 health departments.
According to Hogan, the state will grant $12 million to fund partnerships between hospitals and community groups to start neighborhood vaccination programs and programs to administer doses to rural parts of the state.
Junior Jazmine Robinson is happy with the increase in funding towards vaccinations.
“It is really important to ensure that everyone gets vaccinated right now so I am really happy that Hogan is allocating more funds to speed up vaccinations in Maryland,” Robinson said.
Overall, the Maryland vaccination rate is rapidly accelerating with about 33% of the state having received their first dose and about 19% fully vaccinated. With large allocations of funds and an increase of vaccines and vaccination sites, the pandemic is soon coming to an end.