Statewide Vax Portal Coming, Local Health Depts May Opt-In

The State will soon unveil a centralized COVID vaccine Pre-Registration Site, with County Health Departments able to “opt in” to be part of the coordination system.

During Monday’s meeting of the Senate Vaccine Oversight Workgroup, Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader indicated the State’s plans to offer a single-site pre-registration system for COVID vaccinations. As of Monday’s discussion, it appears that the offering will cover the State’s three (and expanding number of) mass vaccination sites, but will offer an avenue for local health departments to opt in to further enable coordination for residents seeking inoculations.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

Schrader and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan previously dismissed the idea of a one-stop registration website for vaccination appointments, calling it a setup for a “single point of failure.” But lawmakers, elected officials and members of Maryland’s congressional delegation have countered that the state’s largely decentralized system has created confusion and anxiety, excluding people without digital savvy from signing up for time slots.

The new registration portal is only for the state’s mass vaccination sites. Appointments for doses from hospitals, health departments, pharmacies and others still would be scheduled separately.

Still, Schrader said it would help the state better coordinate with county health departments.

A Washington Post reporter tweeted about the comments, including uncertainty about whether the service would connect to both the state-managed mass vaccination sites but also private providers and other sites:

The Oversight Workgroup meeting is available to view on the General Assembly’s YouTube channel, including a broader presentation on the State’s vaccination efforts thus far, and Senate input/questions on demographic disparities in vaccination deliveries.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties