The distribution is not happening as fast as anyone would like, but patience is a must when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination process.
Within a few hours of an initial announcement being released to the media, Atlantic General Hospital’s 300 vaccination slots for a phase 1B clinic this Saturday were filled and a wait list of more than 850 existed by mid-week. Though some may appear apprehensive about the vaccines, it’s clear most citizens are anxious to get their shots as soon as possible.
Confirming the point is the notion individuals are trying to skirt the system to get vaccinated earlier than applicable. Several instances have been reported locally as well as regionally of people showing up at first-responder vaccination opportunities trying to hoodwink health officials to receive shots months before their turn.
There is reason to be anxious. The vaccination rollout is happening much slower than it should, but the good news is three vaccinations (which require two doses) are available at this point and a potential one-dose vaccination is doing well in clinical trials.
Amid rampant demand we must maintain our collective cool. Rural areas like Worcester County are doing a much better job of administrating the vaccines than metropolitan areas, but the issue is it’s a numbers game for hospitals and health departments. For example, according to a Maryland Department of Health COVID vaccine summary as of Jan. 12, Atlantic General Hospital had received 1,000 shots and given 717 for an administered rate of 72%. Over in Salisbury, TidalHealth Peninsula Regional had received 7,475 with 60% administered (4,459). Conversely, 5,000 doses have bene delivered to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center at an administered rate of 45% (2,251).
Gov. Larry Hogan and state health officials understand the timeline is not as swift as it should be. Phase 1B should be started statewide by February with the second phase beginning in March and the general public sometime in the summer. Thirty percent of Marylanders are expected to be vaccinated by May and 60% by September.
While it’s frustrating to note the delays and this expansive timetable, we must be patient and understand health officials are working with state and federal regulators to secure as many doses as possible each day. We must remember one year ago the public did not even know about this virus. What’s happened scientifically since March has been a marvel, and we must now individually maintain reasonable expectations.