MARYLAND (WDVM) — Maryland is surpassing the vaccination goals not only in the state, but also in the country. However, The Maryland Department of Health is continuing its efforts to vaccinate more Marylanders in hard-to-reach communities.

WDVM spoke directly with the Secretary of Health, Dennis Schrader about working to make the vaccine more accessible and their new initiative to get more shots into arms.

When asked about the Delta variant, Schrader said that while it is something to look out for, the evidence is clear that if you are unvaccinated, you are at a greater risk. As far as concerns about the CDC linking the J&J vaccine to a rare neurological disorder, he said the numbers are very small. The cost-benefit of getting vaccinated is much higher, and the state is mostly using Moderna and Pfizer’s two-shot regimens. 

An example of the state’s vaccination efforts is the department’s latest vaccine incentive, VaxU which is a promotion that provides a million dollars worth of scholarship money for those who are ages 12-17 who get vaccinated or have already taken the shot.

“We’re very concerned about the long-term effects of catching COVID, and we’ve learned a lot within the last year, and young people who have gotten COVID are subject to some longer-term implications,” said Schrader.

Schrader added we have about 1.3 million eligible people who still need to be vaccinated. To get the rest of those people vaccinated will have to be a community effort.  There especially is a need for trusted organizations to partner with the Department of Health to host mobile clinics, and the department will provide all of the needed resources.

To request a GoVAX Mobile clinic, click here.