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Maryland to expand program to allow people to obtain proof of vaccinations

The expanded online program “will hopefully continue to make it easier to gain access and to demonstrate that you’ve had a vaccination,” says Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

ANNAPOLIS — State health officials said they will expand a vaccination tracking program that will allow people to prove their COVID-19 inoculation status. 

The expansion of the MyIR program will allow users to generate a code that third parties can scan. State officials said it could be used to prove COVID-19 vaccination status, but they stopped short of calling it a vaccine passport.  

“I think it’s just another way for people to have the convenience of showing they’re vaccinated,” said Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. “We’re not looking at any vaccine passport.”  

The governor also announced that he plans to introduce emergency legislation he said would help ease worker shortages at hospitals. The 18-month pandemic has exacerbated those staffing concerns. 

The rise of the delta variant and increased cases and deaths among the unvaccinated continue to put pressure on governments and local health officials hoping to avoid returning to capacity limits and other restrictions.  

Local government leaders in Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties have floated the creation of a vaccine passport system.  

“I know people feel it is their right to not get vaccinated but your right not to get vaccinated and your insistence that you should be allowed to go to restaurants and every place else means that your right not to get vaccinated gets translated into a right to make other people sick who actually don’t want to be sick,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, a Democrat, told reporters Wednesday. “I have no sympathy for that argument. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, stay in your house. Those people who have gotten vaccinated have the right to go out and enjoy the things that are available to them because it is safe.”  

Roughly 1 million eligible Marylanders remain unvaccinated, according to the state Health Department. A sizable chunk of those are children who are not eligible for shots at this time.

Elrich has yet to release his proposal for a vaccine passport. In the last few weeks, he has described one possible program that would require businesses to bar patrons who are not vaccinated.  

That idea differs from one floated by Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. The first-term Democrat has publicly discussed a voluntary program that would allow the county, and local businesses that wish to opt in, a way to verify vaccination status. 

But those same local leaders complained the state is denying access to the data needed for such a system. 

Marylanders vaccinated in the state can already access their records for COVID-19 and other vaccinations using the The current system, which can be accessed on mobile devices, shows the records for those vaccinations including the date and type of vaccine. 

Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said Thursday that the system will soon let users generate scannable QR codes. 

“Starting next week, Marylanders will be able to access a QR code that has their COVID-19 vaccination status in it through,” Schrader said. “That will hopefully continue to make it easier to gain access and to demonstrate that you’ve had a vaccination.”  

Hogan also announced that he will propose legislation he said will help ease staffing shortages at hospitals. The bill could come in a special session, if one is held later this year, or in January.  

Hospitalizations for the last month or so have hovered around 800 per day. About one in four COVID-19 patients are in the ICU. 

“We hope that signals a peak in the current COVID-19 surge,” said Dr. Ted Delbridge, executive director at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations account for about 10% of the total patients in the state. The length of the pandemic has stressed workers, and hospitals in some areas of the state are seeing larger increases in patients than the rest of the state. 

“Rural hospitals are being disproportionately affected by coronavirus,” said Delbridge. “The hospitals with the highest numbers of COVID-19 patients serve the Eastern Shore and parts of the western state where a lower proportion of residents have sought out vaccinations. Undoubtedly, that’s no coincidence.” 

Last week, Hogan and the health department issued orders that allow nurses licensed in other states to work in Maryland. The department also relaxed rules to allow some professionals with expired licenses to work under supervision and for early graduation for some students including nurses. 

Hogan said he will seek to make some of those orders permanent. 

“Under a state of emergency, I have the power to change those laws and the state health department has the power to put in orders,” Hogan said. “They’re short-term in nature and only for that current emergency. Some of these we’ve found to be really helpful going forward and we need the legislature’s concurrence.” 



  1. Good luck. .Gov is pushing the envelope not factoring in all sorts of risk. The leadership of the state and the proposals describe herein are simply breathtaking in calculation. Sooner rather than later, you will have a mass casualty event specifically targeting the lever-pullers. Ransom-wear, Phishing, normal stuff that isn’t nation state threats will be replaced by Personnel.

  2. From this very article:

    “Roughly 1 million eligible Marylanders remain unvaccinated, according to the state Health Department. A sizable chunk of those are children who are not eligible for shots at this time.”

    So is it 1 million ELIGIBLE? Or 1 million including children who are not eligible? And even if it’s the former, that’s an 83% vaccination rate! Why are we still alarming everyone like this?

  3. Jennifer Ellington

    Elrich’ response that those who are unvaccinated should stay home to protect the vaccinated is ludicrous! How does that make any sense? If you are vaccinated go out, have a blast- you are vaccinated, and therefore be protected, yes? How are the unvaccinated affecting the vaccinated? How about natural immunity? It’s double speak and garbage! Marxism at its best.

  4. The people being hospitalized, according to a recent study, have 2 or more comorbidities, vaxed and unvaxed. Get your facts straight.

    Both vaxed and unvaxed may spread the virus. These policies will only rub salt in the wounds of small businesses that have been limping along.

  5. What a crock of shit!!!! All if it! They cant keep their facts straight to save their lives. Just another way to control everything. Look at all the other governors standing up for their people in the right way!!! The lies and manipulation is sickening…. If they would let the doctors be doctors instead of fear they will lose their license and take the political bs out of it, im sure things would be a hell of a lot different. Instead Dr. Hogan knows best and what will be best for everyones health when no two health are exactly the same!!!! Fools! Why cant they say, you know what we made a mistake, we know that this is an upper respiratory infection we cant beat! Lets use the resources we have available to treat the patients! Flu remedies and a pneumonia vaccine! Instead we recreate the wheel! Bravo, bravo! And bravo to those who just went a long with it all! Congrats! Yall super stars who cant think for yourselves!