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Maryland struggling to vaccinate its Black population

Only 15% of COVID-19 vaccines in Maryland have been distributed to African-Americans despite making up 30% of the population.

BOWIE, Md. — Maryland leaders, including Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD), were on hand at the Six Flags America theme park in Bowie Friday morning to herald the launch of the first of six mass vaccination sites across Maryland. 

Two-hundred fifty(250) people were signed up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Six Flags site . Governor Hogan indicated that after "a couple days" capacity would increase to 2,000 appointments at that site per day. Eventually, once supply increases, Governor Hogan says he expects 6,000 people per day will be vaccinated at the site. 

"I've had the virus already. I had it in April when it was really scary," said a 76-year-old woman waiting in line to get her shot. When asked if it was a relief to be there she replied, "You know, I try to not worry about tomorrow. So I hadn't been worrying about it."

Appearing alongside Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and the Chairman of the County Council Calvin Hawkins, Governor Hogan expressed concern about minorities not getting the vaccine. 

"Many people in black and brown communities are refusing to take the vaccine and that's one of the things. We've got TV commercials that launched last week," said the Governor. 

Data updated daily by the Maryland coronavirus website shows that African-Americans have received 14.75% of the Covid-19 vaccines distributed throughout the state. This, despite making up roughly 30% of the state's population. 

Whites, on the other hand make up roughly 50% of the state's population and that group has received 64% of the vaccine so far, according to the data. As of this publication, 503,865 first dose vaccines had been given in Maryland.

"We have confidence in these vaccines and we believe it is safe. It has been tested. A number of our health officers have got the vaccine, pastors as well," said Alsobrooks. 

"Based on the gross number of vaccines, there are more of them in Baltimore and Prince George's County than anywhere else in the state. We've just got to get them into people's arms," said Governor Hogan.   

Governor Hogan says he's trying to build a state infrastructure that can vaccinate 50,000 people a day.