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Hospital Workers Due For COVID Vaccine

Credit: Ariel Javellana/Flickr
Credit: Ariel Javellana/Flickr

Gov. Larry Hogan’s deadline for Maryland hospital and nursing home workers to get at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine passed Wednesday. And a doctor at one hospital says workers there are close to meeting that goal.

“Because of our exposure risk, we were so happy to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Christine Baker, a family practice physician at Ascension St. Agnes in Catonsville. “I would say almost all of us have been vaccinated.”

Faced with a rising tide of coronavirus cases, Hogan announced last month that all nursing home and hospital employees must receive at least their first dose of the vaccine by September 1 or submit to weekly testing.

In June, Maryland hospitals had formed a consensus to require vaccines for their workers by November.

Then pick up with Dr. Baker saying she doesn’t have specific data yet.

Still, Baker said she doesn’t have specific data yet and that there are a few workers who may not be vaccinated.

“That weighs heavy on what the next steps will be,” Baker said. “That piece is difficult.”

Unvaccinated workers must get weekly testing, but Baker said that can be labor intensive. Hospital workers have to set aside testing booths.

And unlike rapid tests, PCR tests don't come back the same day.

As of Wednesday, 81% of Marylanders 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the state health department.

You can hear more from Dr. Baker on WYPR’s Sept. 1 episode of The Daily Dose. 

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.