Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced on Monday that all residents 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at mass vaccination sites, effective April 6.
This change is based on an anticipated increase in supplies from the federal government. The state will require other providers to offer COVID-19 vaccines starting April 12.
In a press conference announcing the update, Hogan expressed hope that Maryland will be able to move quickly and vaccinate as many people as possible.
“Even though we’re opening up eligibility for everyone, that does not mean everyone will be able to immediately get an appointment,” he said. “If [the federal government] continues to provide vaccines the way they’ve led us to believe, we should be able to finish everybody who wants one during April and May.”
This announcement comes alongside President Joe Biden’s decision to move up the deadline for states to make all Americans eligible for a vaccine from May 1 to April 19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maryland has administered 3.1 million doses so far (two of the three authorized vaccines require two shots), making approximately 18% of the state population fully vaccinated.
Since vaccinations began earlier this year, some Hopkins students have already received the vaccine, particularly those engaged in clinical work. Other students have been able to get appointments after cancellations opened up spots.
The latest update expands eligibility to nearly all Hopkins students.
Sophomore Lubna Azmi was vaccinated at the M&T Bank Stadium, a mass vaccination site in Baltimore. She noted that her lifestyle has not changed since she got her first dose.
“Everything was really organized, and the staff got us in and out of there with ease,” she said. “Since we don’t yet know if the virus can be carried by vaccinated people, I expect my mindset about how I’m living my life to stay the same.”
Junior Mario Aguirre, who was also vaccinated at the stadium, shared that the process took longer than expected.
“Me and three other friends had an appointment at the same time,” he said. “We stood for 25 minutes in line and spent 15 minutes waiting to get the vaccine afterward.”
Like Azmi, Aguirre is continuing to follow public health guidelines, but he looks forward to interacting with more people after his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine
“I’m still wearing a mask. I’m not eating out or going to restaurants, and I’ll probably wait until I get my second dose,” he said. “But it definitely made my roommate and I feel a lot safer. I’m glad that I don’t have to worry as much when I get into contact with people. I'm excited to be able to see old friends I haven’t seen in a long time.”
The University has yet to announce whether students will be required to be vaccinated to be on campus in the fall. It has also not shared any plans to provide vaccines directly to students. Last fall, Hopkins required students to receive a flu shot to be on campus.
In an email to The News-Letter, senior Shizheng Tie, while willing to receive the vaccine herself, argued that the University should not mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I do not think a vaccine mandate is the course of action for Hopkins admin because of the potential for backlash,” she wrote. “For the students that do want to get vaccinated, the Hopkins admin should do whatever they can to help ease the process.”
Tie recommended that the University excuse absences for students who miss class to receive the vaccine or recover from side effects. She also called on administrators to provide a detailed guide about vaccination.
The University is holding a town hall on Friday morning to provide information about vaccine safety and efficacy. The discussion is part of the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Get the Facts About the Vax campaign.
Aguirre urged students to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I personally think the shot didn’t hurt at all,” he said. “I hope everyone can get in their appointments as soon as possible so we can all return to normal.”