ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday he will activate the Maryland National Guard to assist with the COVID-19 vaccination effort in the state.
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered Monday to staff of the University of Maryland Medical System. Over the next week, the state is expected to get a total of 155,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
To assist with the logistics of distribution and administration of those vaccines, Hogan said he has mobilized the Maryland National Guard for the second time during the pandemic. Once additional doses are available, guardsmen will be also being helping set up mobile vaccination clinics in the state and joining rapid response teams to address outbreaks at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
In addition to mobilizing the Guard, the state will be launching a public service announcement campaign and a new public COVID-19 vaccine dashboard in the coming weeks. Hogan called the effort, “The largest and most important vaccination effort in the history of our state and our nation.”
The Maryland National Guard was previously mobilized earlier this year to guard 500,000 COVID-19 tests the state acquired from South Korea. Hogan said Tuesday the state had just inked a deal to acquire an additional 1 million tests from the South Korean company LabGenomics.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the people of South Korea,” Hogan said.
In the next two weeks, Hogan said vaccinations will be distributed to every hospital in the state and to all 227 nursing homes.
“I want to assure the people of Maryland that we will get through this together and that every single day as we vaccinate more people, and continue to fight this virus with everything we’ve got, we will get closer to victory over this deadly virus,” Hogan said.
Maryland reported 2,401 new cases of the coronavirus and 61 new deaths on Tuesday – bringing the state’s death toll from the pandemic to more than 5,000 lives.