COVID-19 vaccine shortage anticipated in Maryland next week

Maryland officials say the state will be dealing with a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine in the next week, but the reason for the shortage isn't entirely clear.

Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis Schrader informed counties that the state's vaccine doses will be cut 33% next week from all vaccine manufacturers combined: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna.

"We're asking people to be patient for a little longer as we go through the following stages of vaccinating everybody," says Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

The pace of vaccinations has picked up as more mass vaccination sites have opened in the state and local jurisdictions with the site at Montgomery College in Germantown aiming to hit 21,000 vaccinations per week.

READ MORE: Governor, Greenbelt mayor clash at mass vaccination site opening event

However, that goal may not be met starting in the coming days.

"There will be across-the-board cuts next week," says Montgomery County Emergency Management official Dr. Earl Stoddard. "They've already told us there will be across-the-board cuts next week to all vaccine recipients, so we just don't know how severe that's going to be."

The exact reason for the reduction of vaccines isn't clear. However, it does go back to a kink in the supply chain caused by problems at the vaccine manufacturing facility in Baltimore that was making vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

READ MORE: DC Health says everyone over 16 will be able to register for COVID-19 vaccines next week

Maryland's allotment of Johnson & Johnson doses next week will be 78,000 less than promised and it's likely that all the vaccine allocations are now being shifted around to fill in the gaps.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan earlier this week said he was very much taken aback by the news of the vaccine reduction because he had been assured by the White House that there would be no interruption in the vaccine supply.

The reduction in vaccines does not mean any vaccine appointments currently booked for next week will be canceled.

Officials believe the ripple effect won't start until Tuesday or Wednesday. This means officials will not be able to book as many appointments or vaccinate people as quickly as previously estimated. 

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

Officials say they will know more about the actual impact later in the day on Friday or Saturday after they get their vaccine allotment from the state.