Counties Provide Perspectives as Bills Contemplate State COVID Strategy

On February 23rd, 2021 MACo submitted a letter of information to the House Health and Government Operations Committee regarding HB 836 COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Vaccination Act of 2021. This bill requires the Maryland Department of Health, in partnership with local health departments, to adopt and implement a COVID-19 outbreak response plan.

The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) has not taken a position on HB 836 and its many provisions. We wish to express to the Committees a general view from counties on the ongoing reaction to the COVID-19 crisis in Maryland, as we all work daily to serve and protect our county residents.

From the MACo Letter of Information:

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION
Each county, led by its Local Health Department, has sought to prioritize vulnerable residents, and offer an orderly system for vaccinations. The supply from the federal government has made doing so a persistent challenge, with too many rule-following residents complying with a registration process, only to find their appointment canceled. All can agree this is a negative outcome.

A recent commitment to a multi-week allocation will surely help reduce the cancelations and frustrations that accompany eleventh-hour allocation reductions, but weather challenges this month will compound what has already been a difficult and frustrating process for far too many Marylanders.

County officials, working in tandem with local Health Officers, represent the most effective and equitable agents in each community to help deliver vaccines.

We remain in communications with the Administration and Maryland Department of Health to collaborate on, and improve, any facet of this critical system where we can. We all share the goals of reaching and helping Marylanders effectively and rapidly.

Additionally, MACo submitted a similar letter of information to the House Health and Government Operations Committee regarding HB 1263 Maryland Department of Health – COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session on MACo’s Legislate Tracking Database.

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