January 28, 2021
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball updated the community on current vaccination efforts, including progress on Phase 1B vaccinations and the identification of future vaccination sites as supply increases. Howard County Health Department has administered 10,060 vaccine doses to date and has an additional 4,000 appointments scheduled for this week. The new vaccination clinic at Howard Community College, which opened this week, can vaccinate up to 20,000 people a week depending on supply. Photos from the event can be found here. Video can be found here. and below.
“This is an all hands-on deck operation for this government, we will use every resource at our disposal so that when we get the supply, we immediately get shots in arms,” said Ball. “We know that many of you are frustrated. I share your frustration. While we are hopeful that production will increase over the next few months, we are still in a position where demand will continue to exceed supply for the foreseeable future. We know how many people are relying on a vaccine to do their jobs as safely as possible, to return to normal life, to see their family and friends, and to be less isolated. We’re doing everything we can to make this process go faster.”
Vaccinating Phase 1A and 1B
This week, Howard County opened its second vaccination clinic at Howard Community College. This new clinic will be vaccinating within all tiers within Phase 1A and 1B. The Howard County Health Department is currently finalizing Phase 1A and moving forward through Phase 1B, which includes 75+, group one within HCPSS prioritization, and childcare providers.
While there are more than 55,000 people currently eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1A and 1B, Howard County has received 15,000 doses since receiving its first doses in December. 100% of these doses are expected to be administered by Saturday, January 30th. While some parts of the State have moved on to Phase 1C, Howard County is still prioritizing Phase 1A and Phase 1B based on supply received. Howard County expects increased supply soon and will communicate available appointments as soon as is possible.
"The Health Department is ready to stand up clinics in locations throughout the county when vaccine becomes more readily available,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer.
Howard County is also partnering with the school system to prepare vaccine operations at multiple sites, including Marriott’s Ridge, Long Reach, Centennial, and Reservoir High Schools. As soon as vaccine supply increases, each of these sites can be ready to operate within 48 hours.
Additionally, Howard County has allocated more than $300,000 in CARES Act funding to support the installation of MERV 13 air filters in all school facilities, to ensure that students and teachers have a safer learning environment to return to when they transition to a hybrid learning.
HCPSS has identified nearly 10,000 employees who are eligible to receive vaccinations and has created four prioritization groups. Prioritization group one includes more than 100 school nurses who began receiving their vaccinations this week. The school nurses can in turn begin to vaccinate HCPSS employees as supply becomes available. HCPSS is Howard County’s largest employer and moving forward, the school system employees will be vaccinated as more vaccine supply becomes available.
"The school system is pleased to be able to do our part to assist by offering some school facilities as vaccination sites as needed," said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, HCPSS Superintendent. "I am so pleased that last week our School Nurses and Nursing Assistants began receiving their first dose of the vaccine and received training to administer the vaccine to others. I look forward to the prospects of the county continuing to receive more vaccination doses so that our educators and staff can be vaccinated soon."
Requesting Additional Supply
In preparation for accommodating the Phase 1B the Health Department requested 20,000 vaccines to meet the demands based on pre-registration. Yesterday, 4,500 vaccine doses were received for distribution this week.
In Phase 1B Howard County has already pre-registered:
Additionally, HCPSS has identified nearly 10,000 employees who are eligible to receive vaccinations.
In Phase 1C Howard County has already pre-registered more than 21,000 adults ages 65-74.
Pre-registration is now open for all groups in Phase 1B and for adults 65-74 in Phase 1C.
Residents pre-register online at vaccine.howardcountymd.gov. Pre-registration does not schedule a vaccination appointment. Residents who have completed pre-registration will be contacted by email when appointment slots are available for their phase or group.
If residents do not have a computer, they may call 410-313-6284 to provide their contact information, so they can be contacted when appointments are available for their group.
County Executive Ball has directed several departments to work with the Health Department and is committing further assistance for the expansion of hours at vaccine clinics. The County has deployed workers from our County Government to manage the many questions and concerns of residents through a call center. Howard County received nearly 2,000 calls over the past two days alone with questions and concerns about vaccinations.
County Executive Ball will also be hosting a Vaccine Telephone Town Hall on February 8th, to provide an opportunity for all County residents to ask additional questions and learn more about this process.
Ball also noted today that the County is working around the clock to make sure the vaccination process is equitable, especially for communities that don’t have the same access as others.
“Whether the hurdle is having reliable transportation, or access to a computer or the internet to schedule appointments or that you have been traditionally on the outskirts of our medical systems, we will continue working tirelessly to ensure you receive vaccines – and you are not an afterthought,” said Ball.
"Our goal is to ensure that residents are informed and equipped with what they need to efficiently manage the vaccine process and that culturally relevant and proficient information is reaching communities where registration disparities may be trending along racial or socioeconomic lines," said Jacqueline R. Scott, Director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. "We are working hard to ensure equity for all in this process."
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