October 23, 2021

Hogan urges residents to get COVID-19 booster shots

Eligible residents are being urged to get COVID-19 booster shots, the governor said.

In a news release, Gov. Larry Hogan pointed to confusion over existing federal guidance on booster shots as the reason he is “strongly encouraging” those who qualify to receive them as soon as possible.

“If you are confused about boosters, you are not alone,” Hogan said in the release. “In spite of that, Maryland health officials and our state team have spent the last several months building the infrastructure for a statewide operation for boosters. We have also already launched a vigorous outreach effort for those Marylanders who are currently eligible for a booster shot.”

According to the release, half a million state residents are eligible.

For those who received the Pfizer vaccination, they are eligible if it has been six months since the second dose, are over the age of 65, and are over 18 with underlying conditions or work in health care or grocery stores or live in a high-risk setting.

For those who had the Moderna shot, they are eligible for booster shots if they are immunocompromised, but there is “still no approval or guidance on Moderna boosters for the wider population, according to the release.

The Department of Health reported 1,530 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 533,870. The department reported 17 new deaths for a total of 10,229 since the pandemic began. Currently, there are 776 patients hospitalized, which decreased by 21 from the previous day.

Additionally, according to the release, there is no “federal guidance” for those who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.

Hogan announced the state has performed more than 78,000 COVID-19 booster shots as part of the state’s outreach program, and state health officials are working with nursing homes and care facilities, local health departments, physicians, and hospital pharmacies to help people get booster shots.

According to the release, the state’s call center has helped residents schedule more than 30,000 booster shots.

Hogan said in the release the state is working with health officials on vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 and work with pediatricians, schools and local health departments.

For the state’s school testing program, Hogan said, $182 million has been provided to schools for surveillance testing of students and the application period has been extended to Oct. 10 as just 13 of the state’s 24 school systems are participating. There are an additional 415,800 rapid tests available for schools, according to the release.

The governor also said he will be introducing emergency legislation to increase the nursing workforce in an effort to mitigate staffing shortages at hospitals around the state.

This article was originally posted on Hogan urges residents to get COVID-19 booster shots