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Hogan Hires Former Trump Official

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Gov. Larry Hogan has brought on Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration, as a senior adviser for public health.

Hogan said in a news conference Tuesday he has always emphasized the importance of following science and getting the best advice from medical experts. He said Maryland is “veryfortunate to have such a renowned expert as Dr. Redfield” agree to join “our world class team of doctors and public health experts.

Redfield, who had a hand in Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s push to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, immediately began pushing for people to get vaccinated, calling vaccines the most important gift of science to modern medicine.

“Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the M&T Bank Stadium vaccination site and it was very impressive,” he said. “What was most important to me was seeing one individual after another embrace the vaccine with confidence.”

Redfield said he wanted to encourage everyone to “embrace the vaccine with confidence.”

“This single act will help save lives. And it will allow you to do your part to help us all bring this pandemic to an end.”

In the ongoing effort to get more people vaccinated, Hogan announced the state would open three new mass vaccination sites by the end of the month.

A site he announced last week, at the stadium of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, a minor league baseball team, in Waldorf, is to open Thursday. Another, at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, is to open by March 18, and one at Premium Outlets in Hagerstown is to open by the end of March.

“This will give us at least one mass vaccination site in every region of the state, which can administer thousands of shots per day,” he said. “In addition, state health and emergency management officials are in active discussions with several other counties that have expressed interest in partnering on additional state mass vaccination sites.”

Hogan also saidMaryland is set to get nearly 50,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine. They will be distributed to mass vaccination sites, hospitals, community health centers, pharmacies and local health departments.

The governor cautioned, however, that there would be no more Johnson and Johnson vaccines for two weeks after that. He said the company pushed its entire supply out the door as soon as it was approved on Saturday and must make more.

In addition, he said, the mass vaccination site at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore will ramp up to 2,000 doses per day and the site at the Baltimore Convention Center will focus on underserved populations.

The announcement comes in the wake of stinging rebukes of his claim last week that Baltimore City had been getting more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than it was “entitled to."

Mayor Brandon Scott said it was “the most ridiculous thing that I ever heard” and State Senator Mary Washington demanded an apology from acting health secretary Dennis Schrader at a committee hearing on Monday.

Hogan defended those remarks, saying his comment was factual.

He argued that the city has the fourth highest population in the state, but “received the most allocations” of vaccines.

Hogan said his administration has been “very focused on equity,” appointing Gen. Janeen Birckhead, commander of the Maryland National Guard, to head a task force looking into equity issues.

“We asked all of our local partners, particularly in Baltimore City and Prince GeorgCounty to work with us on an equity plan,” he said. 

 

 

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