301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

7.24.21 – BALTIMORE

A top Maryland health official told the 11 News I-Team Friday the state is considering requiring proof of vaccination in some settings.

No decisions have been made, but it is evidence of the growing concern to increase the vaccination rate, which has significantly slowed.

There was no long line for COVID-19 vaccines at one site in southwest Baltimore.

Long lines hard to find at any site lately where vaccines are in high demand, and that was the point as the state and Kaiser Permanente held a public event to promote vaccination.

“The purpose of this event is really clear. We’re really talking about increasing the vaccination rate for the citizens of Baltimore,” said Dr. Mike Willis, of Kaiser Permanente.

To date, 46.3% of the city’s population is fully vaccinated, one of the lower rates in the state. The statewide rate is 58.3%.

“I just want everyone to come down and get vaccinated, take care of themselves, their loved ones,” said Dina Rodriguez Tillman, owner of Hello Bonita Salon.

Rodriguez Tillman owns the hair salon in Pigtown that is part of the statewide effort that uses barbershops and hair salons to reach Black and brown people.

“A lot of people have passed away who didn’t have the opportunity to get this vaccine, a lot of people got very sick and are still battling from the aftermath of COVID and we are still in the midst of this pandemic,” she said.

With the statewide full vaccination rate still under 60% and posting just slight increases daily, a top health official told 11 News there are discussions about requiring proof of vaccination in some settings. No decisions have been made.

“Those conversations are taking place. We are looking at all strategies to fight the pandemic and especially with the uptick and positive cases, we are looking a everything,” said Deputy State Health Secretary Dr. Mark Martin.

Some data – currently the highly transmissible delta variant makes up about 50% of new COVID-19 cases.

And to date: There have been 2,500 breakthrough infections, people who test COVID-19 after full vaccination. Considering 3.5 million people have been fully vaccinated, that is a very small number.

Despite statements from the Deputy Health Secretary on Friday, a spokesperson for the State Health Department sent the following update on Saturday:

“The administration is not considering vaccine passports. We encourage those eligible unvaccinated people to get a shot as the majority of al new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are that of unvaccinated individuals.”