Maryland expects doses of new vaccine as soon as next week, Hogan says

Hogan said that states were awaiting additional information from the federal government on the size and timing of allotments but that 2 million doses could be shipped nationwide starting next week. He said the federal government has told states that it expects the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration as early as Friday.

Maryland has been receiving about 2 percent of the nation’s supply, Hogan said, which would amount to an additional 4,000 doses next week. The state has been receiving about 88,000 ­doses weekly of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Dena Potter, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of General Services, said the state expects to receive its share of Johnson & Johnson doses if the vaccine is approved. D.C. officials did not respond to an inquiry about their expectations related to the new vaccine.

Hogan also announced a partnership with two Maryland universities to increase screening for the coronavirus variants that spread rapidly and threaten to prolong the pandemic.

More than 10 percent of positive tests in Maryland will be genetically sequenced to determine the prevalence of variants. Three of the most commonly reported variants — those first detected in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil — have been found in Maryland, through testing by state and private labs, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The South Africa and U.K. variants also have been detected this month in D.C. and Virginia.

Maryland officials said last week that the state had been screening a fraction of a percentage of positive tests. Moving forward, samples will also be screened by labs at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and at Johns Hopkins University.

Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s acting deputy health secretary, said that 60 cases involving variants have been detected in Maryland so far and that most of them are the U.K. variant.

“As we do more sequencing, we will find more cases,” Chan said.

The state is also planning to open its fourth mass vaccination site no later than March 11 at a Charles County stadium used by a minor league baseball team. The Regency Furniture Stadium site will be Maryland’s first that is operated in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Appointments will be limited to start, but the site eventually could vaccinate thousands of people daily.

Vaccination also continued Tuesday in D.C., where about 20 people gathered in Northeast Washington’s Ivy City neighborhood for a clinic that served the homeless.

Laura Zeilinger, director of the city’s Department of Human Services, also received a shot amid a city campaign to take the vaccine into homeless shelters, encampments and hotels where the homeless often stay. The program has vaccinated more than 1,000 people, she said, with an allocation of about 400 doses weekly.

About half of the people offered shots have accepted; Zeilinger said she expects that number to increase.

“Not every community has chosen to prioritize people who are the very, very lowest income and have some of the most severe health risks,” she said.

In Virginia, an online feature that was supposed to allow residents seeking vaccinations to check a list to confirm that they are registered has not been working, local officials said Tuesday.

That led to confusion and anxiety among residents who couldn’t confirm that their names were carried over from wait lists kept by their local health districts to Virginia’s new centralized system for appointments. Health officials in Northern Virginia on Tuesday assured residents that the names were successfully merged with the Vaccinate Virginia registration system and said the glitch has not affected their ability to continue registering residents for appointments.

“No one has lost their place in line as a result of the data migration challenges,” said Loudoun County spokesman Glen Barbour, adding that state health officials were trying to fix the problem. “We continue to make appointments using our wait list, taking people in the order in which they submitted their preregistration forms and in accordance with the mandated priority groups.”

A spokesperson for the state Health Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Virginia reported 172 coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday — a single-day high for the state that Health Department officials said was artificially inflated because it represents a backlog of previously unreported deaths. It follows the previous single-day high on Monday, when the state reported 155 deaths.

The Health Department said it is processing 2021 death certificates related to a post-holiday surge of covid-19 cases.

Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said the high number of deaths reported recently in Virginia is linked to the high case numbers the state reported late last month, a few weeks after Maryland’s new infections began declining.

“There is no decoupling cases and death counts,” he said. “Where we are right now, we are seeing the shadow of the massive spike in cases.”

There were 1,769 new infections reported Tuesday in Virginia. D.C. reported 89 new infections and three deaths, and Maryland reported 662 new cases and 30 deaths.

Virginia officials this week reported five cases of children with the multi­system inflammatory syndrome associated with the coronavirus, in the Chickahominy, Chesterfield and Richmond/Henrico health districts. Three of those cases were detected recently, officials said Monday.

That prompted a search dating back to October for other cases that were not previously reported to state health districts, which yielded two additional cases and other potential cases still being investigated, officials said.

None of those children died of the syndrome, officials said.

Antonio Olivo contributed to this report.




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