Howard County Executive Provides COVID-19 Vaccination Update
New vaccination clinic to open at Howard Community College next week
Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a second vaccination clinic will be opening at the Athletics and Fitness Center at Howard Community College (HCC) on January 25th. The new clinic will be able to administer approximately 1,500 doses of vaccine every day, depending on vaccine supply from the State. Ball also noted that Howard County began vaccinating adults 75+ in Phase 1B as of today. Howard County Health Department (HCHD) has administered 92.6% of received vaccine doses, since receiving its first doses on December 23rd. Photos of the event can be found here. Video can be found here:
“I want the message to be clear – when Howard County receives more vaccine, we get shots in arms immediately,” said Ball. “We’re working around the clock to rapidly scale up vaccination clinics and vaccinate up to 20,000 people per week. As we’ve known since the start of this pandemic, it’s going to take all of us working together to get to the other side of this.”
Vaccinations for Phase 1A are ongoing. Phase 1A include includes all licensed healthcare providers, correctional officers, law enforcement agencies, and frontline judiciary staff. To date, 7,600 doses have been administered to Phase 1A, and the Health Department estimates there are up to 15,000 people in this group.
Vaccinations for Phase 1B started today. Phase 1B includes those ages 75 and over; those residing in assisted living facilities or special needs group homes; developmentally disabled populations; continuity of government; and K-12 teachers, education staff and childcare providers. The Health Department estimates there are up to 35,000 people in this group.
The HCHD opened pre-registration for Phase 1B adults 75+ on January 14. Since last week, more than 12,700 residents have already pre-registered for vaccinations. Residents who complete the pre-registrations are then notified via email with appointment and registration information. If residents are unable to complete the survey online, consider asking a friend, neighbor or family member for assistance. Those 75+ can also email HoCovaccine@howardcountymd.gov or call 410-313-6284 for assistance completing the survey. The surveys are also available in multiple languages.
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) will coordinate vaccinations for K-12 educators and staff. Non-public school educators and childcare providers who are also apart of Phase 1B will be able to pre-register for vaccination through the HCHD in the coming weeks.
Phase 1C vaccinations are expected to begin in February. Phase 1C includes residents ages 65-74, public safety and health workers, essential workers in grocery stores, food production, labs, manufacturing, public transit and the postal service. The pre-registration for residents 65-74 is also open for residents.
The HCC vaccination clinic will open on January 25th and be able to administer 1,500 doses per day, depending on supply from the State. The vaccinations will take place in the gymnasium of the Athletics and Fitness Center on campus and will require appointments. The college’s Health Sciences Division has partnered with the Howard County Health Department and Howard County General Hospital to help with vaccination distribution. HCC students will also assist with intake, vaccination, patient teaching, and out-processing of patients. Additionally, several of the college’s nursing faculty have volunteered their time to help administer vaccines.
Older Adult Outreach
The Office on Aging and Independence (OAI) is working to increase vaccine communications with phone calls, online information, signage and flyers posted throughout 55+ communities, senior residences or apartment buildings, assisted living facilities, healthcare providers and commercial areas, through traditional mail, and even through COVID-safe in-person direct community engagement.
Bilingual staff are available to assist those with limited English proficiency who may need support signing up for vaccination or to answer questions. Translated documents are available on the Department of Community Resources and Services website in Korean, Chinese, and Spanish, and there are resources available to assist those who are visually or hearing impaired.
Residents without access to the internet or those who may not be comfortable with using technology may reach our Maryland Access Point Staff by calling 410-313-1234 to reach a staff person.
Mobile Integrated Unit
The Department of Fire and Rescue Services‘ (DFRS) Mobile Integrated Community Health (MICH) program has been integral to the COVID-19 pandemic response. From the onset, the MICH has deployed rapid response teams, decontamination teams, follow up home visits for patients that were symptomatic or known positive but chose to convalesce at home, and more recently sample collection for public safety personnel’s anti-body testing.
The MICH team will now be pivoting to assist the Health Department with the vaccination clinics. The team’s ability to move around to locations where groups or individuals are not ambulatory will help in the vaccination of at-risk groups or people. Currently, this program is in the planning phase to determine facility/location and other logistical needs between the Health Department and DFRS.
“Expanding our clinic operations to include a comfortable and accessible location like Howard Community College, will allow us to vaccinate many more of the County’s residents against COVID-19,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “Our hope is that vaccine availability will be able to meet the demands of the expansion.”
“Our Mobile Integrated Community Health Team has been integral in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fire Chief William Anuszewski. “Pivoting our approach from a medical follow up response to vaccinating immobile residents in congregate living facilities is a sensible approach to community paramedicine.”
“We all are eager to get back to being able to gather in business, friendship and community. This expanded plan for vaccinations is a big step in that direction,” said Jacqueline R. Scott, Director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. “Our older adult neighbors and friends throughout the county have bravely fought against social isolation, challenges accessing food and basic life necessities, and significant limits on important daily physical activities for health and wellness, all in an effort to stay COVID safe. We’re grateful to our elected officials for coordinating this important effort so that we can return to living healthy vibrant lives.”
“I am proud that Howard Community College has partnered with Howard County on such a critically important initiative to vaccinate residents,” said Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, HCC President. “From the beginning of this public health crisis, Howard Community College has answered the call to help. We have donated personal protective equipment and supplies, graduated nursing students early to serve on the front lines, and taken every step possible to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.”
“I am pleased and grateful that educators, who are indeed essential employees, have been included in phase 1B of the vaccine distribution process and I appreciate Dr. Ball, Dr. Rossman and other leaders who recognize the importance that educators and schools have on the greater community,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “The distribution process that we are implementing ensures efficiency and prioritizes HCPSS staff who currently have in-person interactions with students, followed by staff who we expect will have interactions with students. Our School Nurses and Health Assistants are receiving training this week on how to administer the vaccine and will be supporting the process to vaccinate our staff and community.”
See all photos from the event here: