Maryland National Guard Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead announced a new plan under the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force will begin accepting proposals from community groups interested in sponsoring a vaccine site for a vulnerable area hard hit by COVID-19.

The strategy is part of a state plan for equitable distribution of vaccines.

Maryland National Guard Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead leads the task force and made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Mobile vaccination sites will be launched in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.

Local health departments are encouraged to nominate areas that might support a community-driven vaccine site, as well as potential public and private sector partners.

A community proposal must include:
● Profile of the community or groups identified for the program
● Location and description of proposed facilities
● List of participating public and private partners and the capabilities they bring (if applicable)
● Number and types of community personnel available to support the event
● What a successful event will look like

The task force will review proposals on several factors, including the ability to address disparities in vaccine distribution, such as the number of residents with an annual income below $49,000, the percentage of minority and unemployed residents, and the number of people age 65 and older.

Support staff members will make recommendations to the task force leadership, which will decide which proposals to submit to the Maryland Department of Health for review and vaccine distribution.

The state will then offer the following for each selected site:
● Onsite analysis prior to the initial vaccination event
● Training for community members to fill select vaccination site positions
● Help in identifying additional local public and private sector partners
● Onsite consultation and support during initial operations
● Facilitation of community after-action review of the initial event

Under the plan, state officials will work to increase vaccine education and outreach in hard-to-reach, vulnerable and underserved communities.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at