January 26, 2021

Maryland Delegation Members Urge State to Ramp Up COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Efforts, Ensure Equitable Access

Today, members of the Maryland Congressional Delegation, including U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin and David Trone, released the following statement after a conference call on Monday with Maryland Department of Health Acting Secretary Dennis Schrader about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts:

“A robust vaccination strategy is critical to our efforts to defeat COVID-19 in Maryland. But according to the CDC, Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution system ranks as one of the worst-performing statewide efforts in the country. Early data also suggests that Maryland has immunized communities of color at significantly lower rates. These issues must be addressed by the State at once.

“Many of our shared constituents have expressed concern, confusion, and frustration about Maryland’s vaccine rollout. The State must provide more clear, accessible, and transparent information to Marylanders about the vaccine distribution system and work collaboratively with county and local jurisdictions to ensure that Marylanders can access the COVID-19 vaccine in a fair and timely manner. To that end, we urge the State to put forward an effective strategy to tackle the current distribution challenges and disparities in access.

“While the Maryland Congressional Delegation continues to work alongside the Biden Administration to boost the federal supply and streamline its deployment, the State must step up its efforts to keep Maryland communities safe, communicate with our constituents, and ensure equitable and efficient distribution of the vaccine.”

According to CDC data, Maryland is currently ranked 47th in vaccine administration, with only 47.3 percent of its received doses administered. Additionally, data shows Maryland is severely lacking in its efforts to equitably distribute the vaccine.According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, while Black Marylanders make up only 16.5% of vaccinations, they make up 33.1% of cases, 36% of deaths, and 29.6% of the total population. Additionally, Hispanic Marylanders make up only 4.9% of vaccinations, but 19.5% of cases, 9.6% of deaths, and 10.6% of the total population.