Yesterday, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was joined by local leaders and community members to promote vaccinations for students heading back to school buildings. To date, nearly 79% of Howard County residents 12-17 have received at least one vaccine dose, and approximately 71% are fully vaccinated. The Health Department also unveiled public service announcements aimed at encouraging all eligible residents to get vaccinated. Photos from the event can be found here.
“I’m so proud and encouraged by the more than 86% of our residents who have already gotten at least one shot. Whatever your motivations or reasons – thank you,” said Ball. “Now we need your help now to convince and support the remaining 38,000 of friends, family, and neighbors who haven’t gotten their vaccine, to get one. The more of our children, students, and educators that head back to school buildings fully vaccinated, the safer in-person learning will be for everyone.”
Currently, 86.1% of Howard County residents 12+ have received at least one dose and 80.8% are fully vaccinated. Howard County continues to lead the state in vaccination uptake – with nearly 70% of the entire population fully vaccinated. The Health Department is running a clinic today, August 10th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Howard Community College, ideal for parents to bring their children after work. Vaccine clinics are also operating daily, to find a location nearby, please visit https://vaccine.howardcountymd.gov.
Videos in the “Why Get Vaxxed” series featured youth and their parents, a 20-something-year-old chef, and a Black vaccine trial participant explaining why they chose to get vaccinated. The 30-second videos are being released each week for the next three weeks, culminating in a final three-minute compilation video. To view the first video in the series, please click here.
“As the Delta variant takes hold in Maryland, vaccination remains the most effective tool to combat the virus,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman. “For those waiting for the right time to become vaccinated, now is the time. Delaying vaccination will only increase the risk of becoming ill, increase time away from work, increase time away from school and increase your chance of being hospitalized or dying. Becoming vaccinated also protects those in the community who are either unable to receive vaccine because of medical issues or are too young yet to receive the vaccine.”
“We really believe in vaccination, and we feel that anyone who is able to have the vaccine should go out and do that,” said Keith O’Neil, Howard County parent, and participant in the public service announcement series. “Anyone who is uncomfortable with vaccination should reach out to their providers and anyone else that they trust to help them make an informed decision.”
School Masking Policies
The Howard County Public School System has implemented a mask mandate for all students and staff K-12 for the upcoming school year. Howard Community College is also requiring masking on campus and in all school buildings for the upcoming Fall semester.
“In just under three weeks, our school doors will reopen, and we will welcome approximately 58,000 students back into our buildings, many of whom have not returned to their school since March 13, 2020,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “I have been very clear that our system’s focus is on a return to normalized instruction, and we will follow public health guidance to ensure we can remain open. I encourage all parents of students to strongly consider the vaccine for your child to help keep them in school and reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our school communities.”
“Howard Community College strongly encourages all its students to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Lynn Coleman, vice president of administration and finance at Howard Community College. “To aid students in getting their vaccine, HCC has partnered with the Howard County Health Department to hold a vaccination clinic during the college’s upcoming Summer Bash for new and returning students on Thursday, August 12. Additionally, HCC is now offering the incentive of a $50 one-time bookstore credit for eligible students who are fully vaccinated.”