Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the creation of the Vaccine Equity Task Force to identify at-risk communities for the COVID-19 vaccination.

The task force will use census data and CDC data to identify at-risk populations. It will be headed by National Guard Brig. Gen. Janeen Birkhead and is partnering with a wide range of public and private entities who all share the same goal of every Marylander having access to vaccines.

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Historic data shows that vulnerable, underserved and hard-to-reach communities face both structural and informational barriers to vaccine access. Growing disparities in these communities make it necessary to take intentional, concrete steps to mitigate the barriers and improve the rate of “vaccine in arms” in vulnerable populations.

The process is a collaborative effort with the federal government, the Maryland Department of Health, local health departments, community organizations, both public and private organizations.

As proposals come in from the community, the Vaccine Equity Task Force support staff will conduct an initial review for supportability, assessing each on multiple criteria, including disparities in vaccine distribution and capabilities of partners.

The state has worked to develop processes which allow the Vaccine Equity Task Force the flexibility to overcome the technology gaps for appointments. It is not a one-size-fits-all - this is why an assessment of each potential clinic site is so important.

Birckhead will consider all staff recommendations and balance them with other pending requests/active programs. The task force will also facilitate discussion on vaccine allocation, ensure task force consensus is documented, and subsequently forward for consideration. Read more at WBALTV