Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that seniors aged 65 and older who live in congregate settings could start getting COVID-19 booster shots immediately.
Hogan said the state had already administered over 28,000 boosters to immunocompromised Marylanders. However, he complained that the Biden administration’s guidance on booster shots has been “confusing and contradictory.”
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that “moderately to severely immunocompromised people” receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That includes people who have been receiving active cancer treatment, people who are taking medicine to suppress the immune system because of an organ or stem cell transplant, among others.
“And it is still unclear when and how more people will become eligible,” Hogan continued. “But all of the evidence makes it abundantly clear that we cannot afford to delay taking decisive action to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
The state’s authorization applies to all nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential drug treatment centers, and developmentally disabled group homes, according to Hogan, a Republican.
“To be clear, these facilities in Maryland will not have to wait to begin offering boosters. Boosters can now be immediately administered,” Hogan added.
The Biden administration plans to provide Americans with a booster shot in the week of Sept. 20 and starting 8 months after an individual receives his second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
A booster shot for Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also anticipated, but more data are needed, according to a recent statement from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The rollout of booster shots is subject to authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC.
The FDA announced early this month that it would hold a virtual meeting on Sept. 17 to discuss additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Hogan’s announcement expanded the federal approval of third doses to include seniors in group settings, regardless of their health.
“We are interpreting that view to deem the seniors in congregate care settings as immunocompromised,” the governor’s spokesman Mike Ricci told the Baltimore Sun.
Hogan announced during the press conference that over 80 percent of Marylanders aged 12 and older had been vaccinated against COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.