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.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Gov. Larry Hogan announced the new $3 million door-to-door vaccine campaigns 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 also is 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 issued an order allowing for seniors age 65 and older in nursing homes, drug treatment centers and group homes for the developmentally disabled to receive COVID vaccine boosters. The state also is 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.
The Maryland Department of Health has 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 the Maryland Department of Health.
Hogan said breakthrough cases make up a small amount but still are a concern and show the need for boosters.