Marylanders aged 65 and older who live in nursing homes and other collective care facilities became eligible for COVID-19 booster injections on Tuesday, by order of Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R).
Seniors who live in assisted living facilities, residential drug treatment centers, and group homes for people with disabilities have also become eligible for vaccines, which health experts say may enhance protection against the disease. coronavirus.
Hogan issued the order after the state’s antibody testing program determined that more than 60% of vaccinated residents had “some form of declining immunity over time, and showed that up to a out of three is now particularly vulnerable ”.
He also cited an Israeli study which concluded that a booster – usually a third dose of Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccines – led to an 11-fold reduction in infections and a ten-fold decrease in serious illness.
“All the evidence clearly shows that we cannot afford to delay taking decisive action to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Hogan said.
The state’s research tested more than 500 nursing home residents.
The state health department also issued guidelines on Tuesday ordering all pharmacies and health care providers to provide a booster “without the need for a prescription or doctor’s order to anyone who considers themselves to be immunocompromised, ”Hogan said.
“No one in this category should be refused a reminder,” he added.
The governor said Maryland has a large vaccine supply and does not plan to reopen mass vaccination sites when the general public becomes eligible for the boosters.
A potential White House hopeful in 2024, Hogan continued his criticism of the federal government, saying states “had to operate without clear direction” from the CDC or the FDA as to when the booster injections will be. recommended for people under 65 and those who do not. health conditions.
“The limited advice we received has been confusing and contradictory,” Hogan said, echoing complaints he made on a Sunday talk show, “and it’s still unclear when and how more people will become eligible “.
According to the state Department of Health, an average of 17 in 100,000 Maryland residents tested positive last week, a decrease of 15% since the beginning of September.
Hogan said his administration was “proud” that Maryland is different from states that have “growing numbers … with case rates spiraling out of control and hospitals overflowing.”
Could we add something like this? According to the CDC, community transmission of COVID is “high” in 19 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions, and “substantial” in the remaining five.
Hogan also announced a $ 3M Community COVID-19 Vaccination Project, which he described as a “door-to-door canvassing effort to directly engage Marylanders living in low-rate areas. vaccination program and in order to encourage more vaccinations ”.
The project will also provide health education in “neighborhoods at risk”.
“Vaccines are the most effective way to protect people from serious illness, hospitalization and death,” he said, adding that only 0.2% of fully vaccinated Marylanders have been hospitalized.
In an era when right-wing figures and media tout unproven treatments, Hogan encouraged people who test positive and begin to experience symptoms to consult their health care provider about monoclonal antibody therapy. .
“These monoclonal antibodies are the only approved and effective treatment for COVID-positive people who are symptomatic but not yet severe enough to require hospitalization,” Hogan said.
Maryland has performed more than 10,000 infusions at 30 facilities, Hogan said, an effort that has dramatically reduced hospitalizations and deaths.