ANNAPOLIS — The state of Maryland is launching a new door-to-door mass COVID vaccination campaign aimed at the unvaccinated and is pushing for booster shots for seniors and the immunocompromised.
Gov. Larry Hogan said the new $3 million door-to-door vaccine campaign is aimed at areas with lower coronavirus vaccination rate. Hogan said the canvassing effort aims “to directly engage Marylanders living in areas with low vaccination rates.”
Maryland has a 62.4% fully vaccinated rate, according to the state health agency. Maryland ranks as the sixth most vaccinated state in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Still, there are areas of the Eastern Shore, Baltimore and western Maryland where there is vaccine hesitancy and skepticism stemming from historical and contemporary distrust of the government and the health care system.
Hogan is also pushing for more federal approvals for COVID vaccine booster shots as well as their wider implementation in the state. The Maryland governor is pressing for faster booster approvals from the Biden administration. Hogan also wants to see the administration approve COVID vaccines for young children (ages 5 to 11).
Hogan has also issued an order allowing for seniors (age 65 and older) in nursing homes, drug treatment centers and group homes for the developmentally disable to receive COVID vaccine boosters. The state is also encouraging the immunocompromised to receive boosters at pharmacies and other medical offices.
“This is something we are going to be living with for a long time,” Hogan said of vaccination and booster efforts.
Public health officials continue to worry about COVID-19 variants and a summer rise in hospitalizations and cases after many of the pandemic restrictions were lifted and President Joe Biden declared partial independence from the virus on July 4.
MDH has also reported there have been 100 deaths, 1,060 hospitalizations and 14,006 cases of COVID among fully vaccinated Marylanders for data through Sept. 5.
Breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated account for 6% of total COVID deaths, 7.4% of hospitalizations and 9% of all coronavirus cases, according to MDH.
Hogan said breakthrough cases make up a small amount but still are a concern and show the need for boosters.
There are 60 active COVID cases in Talbot County as of Wednesday, Sept. 8, according to the local health department.