- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The greater D.C. region has used less than a third of the more than 791,000 coronavirus vaccines delivered in the last four weeks, and officials say vaccinations are off to sluggish start due to several factors.

“While none of us are thrilled with the pace of this rollout over the first couple of weeks, I can assure you that it is improving every day,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday.

He said the state has received 270,150 vaccine doses and 76,916 have been used. About 1% of the state’s more than 6 million population has been vaccinated so far.

“Slow and uneven data reporting make it extremely difficult to determine where there are issues with vaccine administration,” Mr. Hogan said during a press conference. “Certain people have said that they’re doing thousands of vaccinations, but some hospitals haven’t reported any at all even though they’ve done quite a bit.”

In an effort to correct the reporting lag, the governor issued an executive order directing all facilities report vaccination data to the state within 24 hours. Previously, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies were given 72 hours to upload the data.

Mr. Hogan also said 14-member National Guard teams and 700 qualified personnel will be deployed throughout the state to help inoculate people and provide logistical support.

Additionally, the Maryland Department of Health said that facilities that fail to use 75% of their first allocation of vaccine shots may receive fewer doses in the future.

The federal government is expected to send at least 72,000 doses to the state each week, and Mr. Hogan said at that rate, about 30% of the population could be vaccinated by the end of May.

The state also changed its distribution plan and timeline. Phase 1A, which is underway, now includes health care workers, first responders, frontline judiciary staff, and nursing home staff and residents.

Mr. Hogan said the state hopes to begin Phase 1B in late January, which includes adults aged 75 or older, as well as staff in government and education settings, along with assisted living group home staff and residents.

Phase 1C is expected to begin in March, and it includes adults between 65 to 74 years old, as well as select essential workers in public safety, grocery and other settings. Phase 2 does not yet have a target date, but it includes adults between the ages of 16 to 64 with an increased risk of severe illness, incarcerated adults, and other essential workers.

“We’re no longer going to be waiting for all members of a priority group to be completed before we move on to begin the next group in line,” Mr. Hogan said.

In the District, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that 40,075 doses have been delivered to the city and 16,989 have been used. The city’s coronavirus dashboard notes that the data are derived from 58% of providers that are “fully reporting.”

Health care workers are the District’s first priority group to be vaccinated, which includes workers who do not live in the city but do work there. Residents aged 65 or older may be up next during the week of Jan. 11, the mayor said.

Select essential workers including those in public safety, grocery and educational settings, are expected to be inoculated the week of Jan. 25. The following week, residents with chronic medical conditions and other essential workers will be offered the shot.

The target dates may change “depending on what D.C. Health needs to get done,” Miss Bowser said.

In Virginia, about 1% of the state’s 8.5 million population has been inoculated. State Health Department data as of Tuesday show that 481,550 doses have been delivered and 104,083 have been used.

“[H]ealth care providers have been reporting technical challenges with the computer systems used to report vaccines, so it’s taking some time for these doses to appear online,” said Alena Yarmosky, spokeswoman for Gov. Ralph Northam. “We’re three weeks into the biggest public vaccination campaign in modern history — while [Virginia] has made good progress so far, we always knew we were going to face some initial hiccups.”

Health care workers and long-term care facility residents are in the first group, known as Phase 1A, to be offered a shot. Phase 1B includes essential workers and Phase 1C includes high-risk adults.

Mr. Northam has not announced a timeline for vaccine distribution, and he is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday.

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