As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts begin across the United States, some states are struggling more than others to administer the Pfizer and Moderna doses allotted to them by the federal government and Operation Warp Speed.
One of these states is Maryland, which recently ranked at the bottom of the United States for vaccine distribution. As of this week, the state has used only 10.9 percent of its vaccine supply, giving shots to fewer than 37,000 people in hospitals, nursing homes, and local health departments.
“We’ve now in our state gotten them to every single hospital, every single nursing home, and every single local health department, who now has to actually get the people organized and get the vaccinations into people’s arms,” Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan bragged in an interview. “But there’s no question that we all need to be ramping up if we’re going to get this enormous job done across the country.”
Maryland previously experienced administrative pandemic problems earlier in the year after Hogan used state funding to purchase more than $9 million worth of “flawed” COVID-19 tests from South Korea. While Hogan originally praised the buy as “an exponential, game-changing step forward,” writing about it in his newly published memoir, the tests weren’t used. Following the mistake, Hogan spent another $2.5 million for 500,000 usable tests from the same company.
Instead of taking responsibility for the lack of vaccine implementation by his state, Hogan blamed the delay on the federal government.
“The federal government did not deliver the number that they were originally telling the states that they would get, the private sector companies, the… two companies in (vaccine) production, I think their production has not been as fast as they had hoped or what their projections were,” Hogan said. “And they’re having a little bit of time getting ramped up as well because it’s a massive undertaking. … It’s not just sticking needles in arms. There’s a lot of moving parts. And I think nobody is quite performing at the top capacity and we’ve all got to work together to ramp it up,” he added.
Hogan’s office did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.
Despite Hogan’s concerns that many are struggling to keep up with fast vaccine rollout plans, other states such as South Dakota rank near the top, with almost 50 percent of the state’s vaccine doses used as of Thursday.
South Dakota’s distribution and implementation of doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has covered almost all front-line health care and long-term care workers in the state. With more than 15,000 doses administered, the state is preparing to add residents of long-term care facilities to the list to be vaccinated next.