Howard County Executive Calvin Ball provided an update on the County’s vaccination efforts. The Howard County Health Department has received 20,425 first doses of vaccine and administered 20,889, or 111.6%. To date approximately 15% of Howard County residents have received their first vaccine dose, and 6.6% are fully vaccinated. Howard County has also seen key COVID-19 metrics trending downward in the past several weeks, with a 3.8% positivity rate, and 11 cases per 100,000 residents. Photos of the event can be found here.
“We’ve made great progress, and the Health Department continues to be one of the most efficient jurisdictions when it comes to getting shots in arms,” said Ball. “However, we still have many challenges, including a vaccine supply that has decreased over the past three weeks. We know that many in our community are eagerly looking forward to getting vaccinated, and we will continue to provide frequent communication, advocate for additional doses, and work to ensure all our residents have access to the vaccine.”
Ball cited a challenging week, with winter weather delaying vaccine doses and forcing the Health Department to quickly shift clinics and postpone some appointments. The Health Department has consistently received an underwhelming supply while statewide sites and private providers have seen increases. The Health Department’s allocation has decreased over the past three weeks, with 4,500 vaccines provided starting the week of January 24th, 2,000 doses the following week, and then 1,700 most recently. The State provided a four week look-ahead, and Howard County is slated to receive only 1,700 vaccine per week for the next two weeks.
On Saturday, the Health Department hosted its Super Senior Saturday for second doses, fully vaccinating approximately 2300 residents over 75. Clinic staff seamlessly were able to meet many residents with mobility issues in their vehicles for a smooth appointment.
Ball also emphasized the importance of ensuring residents receive both doses of the vaccine. The effectiveness of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine is based on the two-dose regiment, and after residents receive their first dose, they will be able to schedule an appointment for their second dose.
Mobile Integrated Community Health
The Mobile Integrated Community Health (MICH) team and the intergovernmental collaboration between the Fire Department, Health Department and Department of Community Resources and Services has allowed 60 individuals with developmental disabilities to be vaccinated in their homes to date. Last week the MICH team also went to an independent living facility and congregate care facility to provide vaccinations and will continue to vaccinate residents in these facilities moving forward.
How to Pre-Register
All residents are encouraged by the State to register for a vaccine at these sites by using the State vaccine locator: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine#locator.
All phases, 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, and 3, can also pre-register with the Howard County Health Department at vaccine.howardcountymd.gov or by calling 410-313-6284. Pre-registering does not schedule an appointment but provides your contact information to the Health Department, so you may be notified when appointments are available. All vaccinations currently are by appointment only. Residents who have preregistered will be notified by email when supply is available to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required, and persons should arrive no sooner than 10 minutes prior to their appointment time.
“While we continue to face challenges with vaccine availability, the Health Department is moving forward with vaccination clinics as we are able,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “We want to remind residents to monitor their email and other messages to ensure they don’t miss an opportunity to register for a clinic. We also encourage taking advantage of other opportunities for vaccination as available. Even with vaccination, it is important to continue prevention strategies like mask wearing, physical distancing and limiting gatherings and to get tested if you develop symptoms.”
“Our team is mobilized and ready to support our home bound residents who need the vaccination,” said Fire Chief William Anuszewski. “You have not been forgotten and we are here for you. As more vaccine becomes available, we will continue to visit homes, congregate living facilities, and independent living facilities to provide vaccinations to this at-risk community.”
“We remain focused on our older adult population, those with disabilities, and others who are vulnerable,” said Jacqueline R. Scott, Director of the Department of Community Resources and Services. “Everything we do is to make sure that residents feel heard, respected, and supported in this process.”
“Howard Community College is proud to continue its partnership with Howard County to serve as a vaccination site and protect the health of our community,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “From the beginning of the pandemic, Howard Community College has been doing its part, from donating personal protective equipment to graduating students early to work the front lines, and we will continue to help to bring an end to the pandemic.”
“I am encouraged that our educators continue to receive the vaccine weekly and I appreciate the efforts of the Howard County Health Department and Johns Hopkins Medicine to supply those doses as quickly as possible,” said Howard County Superintendent of Schools, Michael J. Martirano Ed.D. “I want to recognize and commend the critical efforts of our health services staff, operations teams, school administrators, teachers and school-based staff, and central office staff who have all played a critical role in the instruction and support of students since last March and the transition to the hybrid instructional model.”