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MD Lawmakers Question Hogan Plan for COVID Vaccine Distribution

October 28th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

During an update session on Maryland’s plan to distribute coronavirus vaccines Wednesday, State Senate President Bill Ferguson said he is increasingly concerned about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Maryland.

"I think it is only fair to say that it is starting to get to a place where we may need to bear down again. It doesn't mean closure, but it means (to) be prepared, be mindful and be safe," Ferguson said at the start of a meeting of the legislative workgroup on COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan said he was worried about the rise in cases but didn't think the state would need to restore the restrictions that were in place earlier this year.

The Hogan administration has submitted a two-phase plan which would distribute vaccines first to essential employees and those at highest risk, including health care workers, first responders and older adults living in congregate settings, including nursing homes. The general public would be able to get the vaccine in the second phase.

Sen. Paul Pinsky, chairman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, questioned why teachers and other school employees are not considered essential, noting Gov. Hogan and State School Superintendent Karen Salmon want public schools to offer some in-person learning before the end of the calendar year.

Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan told lawmakers that because of the limited vaccine supply, even some workers deemed essential like teachers, would not be able to get the vaccine until the second phase