The wait is almost over.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the state will be moving into Phase 2A of its vaccination distribution plan on Tuesday and outlined the remaining target dates for Marylanders still awaiting their vaccine eligibility. Phase 2A includes all Marylanders at least 60 years old.
The state is on track to progress into Phase 2B on March 30, granting all Marylanders at least 16 years old with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness due to comorbidities vaccine eligibility.
Maryland will then into Phase 2C on April 13 to allow individuals at least 55 years old and any of the state’s remaining essential workers to begin vaccine registration.
The state will move into its final stage, Phase 3, on April 27, therefore covering all Marylanders at least 16 years old, Hogan said.
While Salisbury University faculty and staff will see sharper increases in eligibility in the coming weeks, most students will be left waiting until the entire general population is eligible to receive the vaccine.
The move to Phase 3 will be the most significant for SU, as all campus community members will then be able to receive the vaccine.
Some students who were deemed essential workers, such as dining employees and residential assistants, were already able to receive doses of the vaccine under previous levels of the state’s distribution plan, according to Campus Health.
Expanded eligibility does not necessarily mean those individuals will receive doses immediately, however, as the state will not wait for an entire phase’s group to be vaccinated before moving into the next phase, Hogan said.
Campus community members who have been fully vaccinated will still need to remain in compliance with the university’s testing protocols, said Victoria Lentz, SU’s director of Student Health Services.
“The university health team is closely monitoring the science and the latest [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance surrounding the issue and that will inform our policies,” Lentz said.
SU President Charles Wight said vaccinated students, faculty and staff will still also be required to wear masks and observe social distancing.
The Eastern Shore’s first mass vaccination site opened in the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center Thursday.
The university has not issued a vaccination requirement for campus community members. SU does recommend all students complete the vaccine consent form available in Gullnet, however, so that it may track the vaccination rate of the campus population.
One in four Marylanders have received at least one dose of the vaccine thus far, per the state’s coronavirus dashboard, and more than 750,000 Marylanders are considered fully vaccinated.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Colorado Sun.