Wednesday, January 13, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination: It should be easy, right?

In last week’s blog, I mentioned that Governor Hogan was concerned that hospitals and local health departments were not vaccinating fast enough. He cited issues ranging from the federal government not sending as many doses as initially predicted, to the lack of logistical and financial help for local health departments.

I am proud of our team for how quickly they setup a system for vaccine delivery and for how well it has been operating. As of today, all GBMC HealthCare System employees and all our medical staff members have had the opportunity to get the first dose of vaccine if they have wanted it. Yesterday, we began immunizing the other large component of our workforce, our volunteers, to include our Board Members. 

The State has correctly wanted to get hospital staffs and first responders vaccinated first. This has now essentially been completed. At this point, however, there has been a hesitancy from the State to allow us to use remaining doses to vaccinate others. The federal government has suggested that we begin immunizing everyone over 65, but the State has not authorized us to do that at this time. As of last night, it appears that the State is now moving towards a plan to begin immunizing everyone over age 75.

I believe that the best path forward is not to come up with the perfect sequencing of vaccine administration. At this point, we should pivot to immunizing as many people as we can, as fast as we can. The bottleneck should be vaccine production and not distribution.

We are all concerned about the rising number of cases and the increasing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, so it is important to move quickly on the best strategy to end the pandemic – immunization.

If any of you are interested in getting more information about the pandemic and our work to end it, I hope you join me for a special COVID-19 WebEx on Thursday, January 28, at 11 a.m. I will provide an update on the situation at GBMC, throughout Maryland, and the country, and plan to discuss and answer your questions on the vaccine. Please register and submit your questions ahead of time at this link

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