ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball provided an update on the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Howard County and emphasized a focus on getting vaccine to younger residents moving forward. To date, 75.4% of residents 16 and over have received a first dose and 58.3% of those 16 and over are fully vaccinated. Last night, Ball announced Howard County will align with the Governor’s latest recommendations to open outdoor entertainment, sports venues, indoor entertainment, and all indoor and outdoor dining 100% this Saturday, May 15. All residents are still required to wear masks in public indoor settings. Photos of the event can be found here.
As we’ve learned during the past year – this pandemic forces us to adapt and shift our strategy, and we’ve done just that to reach this vaccine milestone. We’ve removed many barriers to access, bringing the vaccine to trusted sources like faith organizations, community centers, and even local restaurants to ensure our residents have the opportunity to get vaccinated. With these clinics, we’ve made progress on equitable vaccine distribution – reaching many residents who might have been hesitant or needed support from their close-knit community to get their shot. Moving forward we’re refocusing our efforts on young people, many who are planning to get vaccinated, but there hasn’t been a convenient time or location. Our small community clinics are targeted to sites that are easy to pop-in for people out running errands or going to a restaurant, we’re bringing the vaccine to you.
Howard County has also made significant progress across race demographics:
- 51% White residents received a first dose (53% of population)
- 18% Asian American residents received a first dose (18% of population)
- 16% African American residents received a first dose (18% of population)
- 5% Hispanic residents of full population received a first dose (7% of population)
A breakdown of race and age data shows that the largest gaps among demographics who have received the vaccine is with residents under the age of 49. Among ages 50 and over, the uptake for the vaccine has been about the same for white, African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic residents.
Howard County is planning clinics in the coming month at many organizations and businesses throughout the county including Jailbreak Brewing Company, Howard County Recreation & Parks Headquarters, Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, Elkridge 50+ Center, Ducketts Lane Elementary School, Grassroots Day Resource Center, Good Life Custom Cleaning, St. John Baptist Church, Washington Blvd. Marketplace, and Hampton Inn and Suites Columbia. These clinics are administering Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine. For a full list of upcoming pop-up clinics, please visit vaccine.howardcountymd.gov.
Currently about 2.5%, about 5,000, of Howard County residents are overdue for their second vaccine dose. If residents need a second dose appointment, please email the Howard County Health Department at [email protected]. Walk-up vaccine also is available for those who previously missed their second dose appointment.
With the Pfizer vaccine approved this week for 12-15-year-olds, additional clinics will be added for this age group at vaccine.howardcountymd.gov. Residents may also make appointments or walk-up to the mass vaccination site at the Mall in Columbia, which is mostly administering the Pfizer vaccine (12+). Please visit covidvax.maryland.gov to make an appointment or call 1-855-634-6829.
“Utilizing a multi-pronged approach to vaccination has led to an evolution in clinic offerings, the utilization of community partnerships and the funding of community organizations in an effort to vaccinate as many in our county as possible,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “We now look forward to reaching and vaccinating the remainder of our population wherever they are, with the hopes of returning to life with family events, neighborhood get-togethers and other activities we’ve missed for 15 months.”
“Every day, our community is taking the necessary steps towards normalcy, to being able to spend time with family and friends and enjoying those momentous occasions that we may have missed last year,” said Chief William Anuszewski, Howard County Fire and Rescue Services. “Our MICH team has been an integral part of those steps by making vaccinations a reality for populations of the community that may not have it at their fingertips. This is the true meaning of Mobile Integrated Community Health.”
“I am impressed by the speed and efficiency that Howard County took to address barriers to people with disabilities receiving the vaccine,” said Katie Collins-Ihrke, Executive Director of Accessible Resources for Independence. “They worked to ensure their clinics were not only accessible but welcoming to people with disabilities. Some features included extra room in the waiting area for support staff as well as those who use wheelchairs, training clinic staff on disability etiquette, and the utilization of technologies to ensure those who were deaf or hard of hearing were able to communicate with clinic staff. They were also prepared at the clinics to vaccinate people in their cars if need be so that mobility considerations wouldn’t be a barrier. If you or someone your know needs a vaccine, don’t delay!”
“With the vaccine we have our hopes back,” said Padre Leandro Fazolini, Associate Pastor, St. John the Evangelist. “Now we can go back to our normal lives, loving those that are part of our lives, our neighbors, and everyone at work or that we care about. So dear brothers and sisters, let us never lose hope, always walk towards the good, walk towards the love and good we can give to our neighbors.”
“From the beginning we developed and engaged in a strategy focused on meeting people where they are. We have – and continue to partner with our faith-based communities to stand up clinics on site, congregate living facilities to provide vaccines to their staff and residents, and with other nonprofit and school partners,” said Stephanie Adibe, Deputy Director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. “All of these efforts are designed to provide convenient access to vaccines and to remove barriers to registration due to technology or language, and we have already administered 1,000 vaccines at these locations.”
“Our Office has built relationships with and maintain a constant contact list for over 100 faith-based organizations, which includes Churches, Mosques, & Synagogues,” said Stephanie Wall, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Office of the County Executive. “Due to this partnership between government and places of worship, almost 4500 adults received vaccination at our faith clinics; on top of all the other successful clinics taking place within the County. Most all places of worship in Howard County offered up their buildings to be used as vaccination sites. We thank each and every one of them and all of our community partners for their commitment to community.”